How should channel partner programs and ecosystems evolve in the age of everything as a service?
Here is ChannelE2E’s 10 Point “MSP and Channel Partner Bill of Rights” (for ISVs, MSPs, MSSPs, CSPs, VARs, IT consultants, integrators and more) in the age of cloud, mobile and absolutely anything as a service:
1. Instant-On Subscription Services: With nothing more than a web browser, Internet connection and credit card, partners must be able to purchase or subscribe to vendor hardware, software or related services with a few clicks of the mouse, with 24x7x365 chat and phone support also available.
2. Multi-Tenant, Single Pane of Glass: Once the product or service is activated, partners must able to manage all customer workloads and activities from a single pane of glass. Moreover, every vendor product or service developed and promoted to MSPs, MSSPs and CSPs must be multi-tenant from Day One.
3. Scale Up/Scale Down: The single pane of glass must allow partners to scale up or scale down customer seats and workloads with a few clicks of the mouse, with no financial penalties for adjusting seat and workload counts at a moment’s notice.
4. App Stores & Partner Portals: Online vendor malls must truly be app stores instead of logoware – allowing partners to research, select, procure, activate, manage, and deactivate services for themselves and/or on behalf of customers. Such systems and associated vendor marketing services must have simple opt-out capabilities for partners.
5. Pricing, Billing and Branding : Partners must have the ability to set, manage and adjust end-customer pricing and billing through a simple cloud-based partner portal. All services must have white label capabilities, allowing the partner to keep their brand front-and-center for all customer interactions, if the partner so chooses.
6. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Automation: Partners must receive automated alerts if certain customer seats or workloads aren’t being used after a designated amount of time. Moreover, AI and machine learning must continually redefine the support experience between end-customers, partners and vendors – driving down partners’ manual service desk issues in the process.
7. Truly Open APIs: All services must have open and fully documented APIs and developer tools — allowing vendor ecosystems and partners to create secure, reliable interconnections with one another. Even in the case of rival vendor offerings, partners must have access to open APIs and developer tools to build integrations between rival vendors’ products and services, if they so choose.
8. Hardware as a Service: Hardware must be available as a subscription (i.e., Hardware as a Service). HaaS business models certainly vary greatly. For a potential starting point, check in with GreatAmerica Financial Services and the company’s Hardware as a Rental (HaaR) model, among others.
9. Business Ownership Models, Financial Backers: Vendors must disclose their business ownership model, including any significant ownership stakes held by third-party vendors and investors that may or may not trigger competitive considerations for partners, customers, rival vendors and strategic alliances.
10. Service, Support and Compliance: In addition to automated chat systems and online support services, vendors must offer 24x7x365 support services that allow partners to reach a live expert at a moment’s notice. The physical location (city and country) of such support services along with associated cloud, mobile and infrastructure services must be clearly disclosed. Vendor-operated forums and dashboards must present the real-time status of services, outages, issues and resolutions. Vendor, where applicable, must disclose if and how their services and products comply with specific regional and/or industry regulations (HIPAA, GDPR, etc.). Vendors’ partner support services must include a clear escalation and resolution process up to and including the Channel Chief, who should be a direct report to the CEO or Chief Revenue Officer.
What did we miss? I’m all ears, and open to potential revisions/updates.