Channel programs News

CRN 40th Anniversary Panel: 5 Key Ways The Channel Has Evolved

C.J. Fairfield

CRN has been a ‘catalyst’ in bringing alignment to the channel and bridging the gap between the vendor and the solution provider, says Jason Wright, CEO of MSP Avatar Computer Solutions, in a panel discussion with other executives at XChange 2022.

The Channel Has Gone From Vendor-Focused To Customer-Focused

Raddon said the channel in the 1980s was an extension of the vendor. Today, the channel is all about the customer.

“It’s all about what customers we serve, what industries we serve, so that evolution has been a really, really important change in the business,” Raddon said.

Grothjan said it was “a lot easier” back then. “Things were a lot more linear.”

The biggest change she has seen is that customers can be vendors and vendors can be customers.

“I think the world is changing in that software truly is a partner ecosystem,” she said.

Wright has seen the shift from a capital expense model to a consumption model as IT budgets have moved away from IT and into the line-of-business sectors.

And it’s been fewer cataclysmic shifts and more incremental changes over the years to boost revenue streams.

“Oftentimes you hear people say, ‘You’ve got to listen to the customer, you’ve got to listen to the customer,’” he said. “Sometimes I don’t know if we polled our customers well enough and that’s one thing we’ve assessed is where we’re at with our clients.”

It’s all about listening to the customer needs. If you on-board them and there’s an on-boarding problem, you lost that customer relationship, he said.

For Goldstein, it used to be all about the numbers and how much MSPs can sell. Today, it’s more of a relationship.

“We really want to make sure that we do serve the customer’s purpose,” he said.

CJ Fairfield

CJ Fairfield is an associate editor at CRN covering solution providers, MSPs and distributors. Prior to joining CRN, she worked at daily newspapers, including The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey and The Frederick News-Post in Maryland. She can be reached at

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