We all know (or have heard) that technology can solve many of the challenges facing the channel. But how do we capitalize on the opportunity? A good first step is to identify where problems and opportunities lie in the first place, and uncovering problems turns out to be one thing technology can be good for. We discussed that in an earlier article: “Solving problems or finding problems, what’s more important?“.
Once we have determined the areas that need improvement, how do we implement the best technology solution for the problems? Here are a few quick suggestions to consider:
- Don’t try to use technology to mimic your current business process exactly. Some parts of your process may be based on ideas that have become outdated over time, and are now ready for the recycling bin. Time may be right for some process re-engineering. Be opportunistic, and don’t accept “we’ve always done it that way” as sufficient rationale.
- Automation is good. Controlled automation is better. Make sure the control knobs are there when you need them and choose the right ones based on your business needs.
- Design/choose your solution with views from both sides of the channel. Remember many of your partners do business with multiple vendors. What looks like a complete streamlining of business interaction from the vendor perspective, can often have limited or even negative impact on the partner’s lifestyle.
- Before you decide that you have to build something because nothing you find in the marketplace does exactly what you want, think some more about (1).