Three Simple Steps to Measuring Government Partner Performance

photo_Skip-Liesgang_65x85by Skip Liesegang, Vice President, Channels

What is best way to measure partner performance? What is included in a good partner scorecard? Those are the two most frequently asked questions in the Government Channel Leadership Council (GCLC), a forum established by immixGroup to share best practices, information and ideas about the public sector IT market.

These questions are closely related. The first is the most important, because once you’ve answered it, the scorecard is just a way to provide metrics to measure success.

Measuring partner potential has always been tough, and my 25-plus years of managing channel partners has given me some basic ways to address this age-old question. Before we get to that, let’s take a quick journey back to the earliest days of partner performance metrics and the insights its evolution may hold for all of us.

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What is the Future of the Channel?

photo_Skip-Liesgang_65x85by Skip Liesegang, Vice President, Channels

What is going to have real impact on your future channel success? Here are a few things I’m seeing that could impact the Channel particularly in the public sector markets:

 

  1. Will the continued movement to Software as a Service (SaaS) or subscription based services affect your business model or go to market strategy? What will SaaS and subscription services do to your transactional economics? How much are you seeing of this trend?
  2. What is the role of the distributor today? What do you, as a channel partner, want from distributors that you are not getting currently? Are they evolving fast enough to meet the market demands of the OEMs and channel partners?
  3. As certification and training requirements increase across the board, how can you balance the right amount of training and education investment with the ROI it will produce? What is the right balance? What are better ways to approach these critical areas of importance?

Brocade and immixGroup are joining forces to give the channel their say by taking part in a global research project, which will culminate in a report that provides a unique understanding of the channel landscape today; and in the future. Tell us what you think by completing this short, multiple-choice survey.

Developing your Sales Channels in the State and Local Market

photo_Skip-Liesgang_smallby Skip Liesegang, Vice President, Partners, Programs, and Alliances.

What’s the best way to reach the state and local government market? Yes, this market is filled with opportunity, but it’s also filled with challenges due to its geographic diversity and unique procurement rules. A few key things to keep in mind while targeting this market:

  • Be or act  “local”
  • Understand the unique procurement rules and processes in this market
  • Know their key product needs and offer repeatable solutions that solve their mission
  • Recognize how and when to create partnerships and alliances to accelerate your sales

Join me on June 4 for a webinar, Developing your Sales Channels in the State and Local Market. I’ll accompany a panel of industry experts to examine various approaches to selling to state and local government agencies and help vendors identify the channels best suited for them. We’ll discuss the value and attributes of an effective channel partner strategy, as well as challenges we’re seeing in the market. Click here to register for this free webinar

Guide to Selling through the Channel in the Federal IT Market

by Skip Liesegang, Vice President, Government Channels Division

If you want to hit a grand slam through the channel in the federal IT market, it’s important to know the chief dynamics of the market itself. We’ve compiled a few resources to help manufacturers and their channel partners better understand the market, identify where the opportunities lie, and recognize the issues and challenges of building a productive federal channel model.

Taking a fun, innovative approach, the infographic below depicts the landscape and best practices when selling to the federal government through the channel.


New Approach to Addressing Federal IT Challenges

by Skip Liesegang, Vice President, Government Channels Division

Over the past two days, I had the pleasure of attending Brocade’s first Federal Forum lead by Anthony Robbins, the energetic and passionate leader of Brocade’s federal team. The event provided an opportunity for federal IT professionals to discuss their challenges with industry leaders. And, unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the past few years, you know that there are plenty of challenges to be addressed!

This event tackled specific topics such as data center consolidation, cloud computing, virtual enterprises/BYOD, information accessibility, security compliance, and evolving acquisition models.  In my opinion, Brocade really gets it. They’re looking to support the government’s mission critical priorities while also increasing efficiencies and reducing costs. Their product set, pricing models, and innovative approach to solving these needs is refreshing and bold. In fact, Anthony believes that Brocade can help the government save $300-500M over the course of 3-5 years by implementing their new approaches. To learn more about Brocade’s new concepts, check out some of the presentations from the Federal Forum here.

Keep in mind that  in an era of budget austerity, technology is a critical bridge for maintaining mission objectives for the government.  I think Brocade is on the right track here and as a US citizen and taxpayer, I couldn’t be happier someone is building better mousetraps. For partners and the government alike, it’s well worth looking into.

Market Conditions Affecting the Federal Channel

by Skip Liesegang, Vice President, Government Channels Division

To understand the challenges of selling IT goods and services via channel partners in fiscal 2012 and 2013, it is important to understand the chief dynamics of the federal IT market itself. From a revenue and spending standpoint, the market remains fluid. In one sense, that’s not new in a market that budgets year-to-year and has 535 people who can potentially say no to one project or another.  From a technology standpoint, several enduring initiatives guide the way for the next several years. We think these initiatives will continue even if a change in administrations occurs next year. That’s because they reflect, federal-style, important IT general trends.

These trends include:

  • Everything as a Service: This phrase refers to the trend by the government to acquire software and networks as services rather than discrete pieces
  • Vehicle proliferation: Last year, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) imposed a requirement for agencies to build detailed business cases for new government-wide or agency-wide acquisition contracts.
  • New competition rules: Finalization of several new rules took place in February that require more competition on small purchases from the GSA Multiple Award Schedule contracts, institutionalize a wide range of industries being under-represented by women-owned businesses, and attempt to limit use of cost reimbursement contracts.
  • Trusted supply chain: Thanks to provisions in the 2011 Defense Authorization bill and the 2012 Defense Authorization bill, suppliers of electronic and other equipment to the DoD are liable for damages from counterfeit or substandard parts.
  • Suspension and debarment: OFPP doesn’t think agencies have been using this tool enough to whip contractors into shape.

If you would like to learn more about the market conditions affecting the federal channel, you should take a look at this report: State of the Government Channel.

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