top of page

Navigating the Evolving Landscape of Partnering through a Circular Economy Mindset

Let’s face it, the landscape of partnering in the Information, Technology, and Communications (ITC) #Channel is undergoing a significant transformation. Initially, channels in our industry were primarily focused on selling products and services.

However, as our customers' needs have changed and evolved there has been a clear shift towards less selling and more engagement in partnership strategies that knit together full solutions to meet customers' needs without one party being the provider and one party being the seller. 

Sure, the sell to/sell through model still exists, but it is rapidly being run over by the more exquisite process of true partnering.  These super partnerships as I like to call them are now delivering a seamless customer experience (#CX) through collaborative efforts that are fulfilling customers' needs and increasing profitable revenue for all parties.  This movement as it expands is now turning into what I can only call a circular economy in the partner ecosystem. 

Allow me to explain: A circular economy is a model of production and consumption that promotes the sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling of products and materials in closed loops. Unlike the traditional linear economy, which follows a 'buy-take-make-dispose' approach, the circular economy aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while in use, and recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their life cycle.

When our industry started selling hardware and widgets the consumption linear economy was our norm.  But now, as a primarily SaaS and services led industry the idea of buy, take, make, dispose is outdated and dangerous. Most firms want a truly circular economy approach to their solutions – ensuring that their investments have long life and can be reused, recycled and applied back into their business without major incremental costs.   

This model reduces waste of time including engineering staff, takes project implementation times down to a minimum, and makes the most of resources. It involves designing products for durability, reuse, and recyclability, and encourages business models in the partnering community that allow for such solutions to circulate in the economy for longer periods.

This started with managed service models where consumers paid for the use of a product rather than owning it outright – as an example: iCloud. Now, it has extended to commercial use whereby business customers are now anticipating the platform to work, to be upgradable, and to handle their needs without the need for a new tech project every year.   

So, bottom line, the circular economy in our industry is not just about recycling in the conventional sense; it's about rethinking how our solutions are designed, presented, supplied, used, and re-used by the ecosystem. It seeks to decouple the incessant sales activity of the channel of the past and the consumption of products and instead looks to use the finite resources of the partner companies in the industry and purposely design waste out of the system.

It's grounded in the principles of designing out waste, keeping solutions and materials in use, and regenerating systems. This is where the partners really come in and make this approach work – they can working together create a world where they can combine resources to provide these very same solutions that in many cases sell themselves.  Enter the platform partner driven circular economy – where the solution on the platform is instantly upgradable, reusable, and managed by the partner community for their clients to ensure the best return on effort.  


What this means is that the days of partnerships being solely transactional are going by the wayside. Today, successful collaborations in the Channel are built on the foundation of strong relationships, shared goals, and mutual trust joined with platforms that can deliver for the customer on a continual vs stop and go basis.  

As a result, more and more businesses are realizing the importance of forming strategic alliances beyond just exchanging goods and services. Instead, they emphasize value creation through joint initiatives, innovation, and co-creation. One of the key drivers behind this shift is the increasing complexity of technology solutions and the growing demand for integrated offerings that function as a platform rather than a piece part.

For customers, it is more than looking for products; they seek comprehensive solutions that address their specific needs and challenges and partners who can ensure the longevity and usability of those solutions. In response, companies in the Channel are partnering more closely to deliver end-to-end solutions that encompass hardware, software, services, and support that are long life and low waste. 

If a vendor wants to thrive in this new era of partnerships, then they need to be more proactive and shift to a more collaborative approach in both their solutions and their programs.  We are past the days of purely resale or agent sale channel pyramid programs and are firmly in the decade of partnering. 

This involves identifying the right partners, aligning joint objectives with end user customers, and establishing the right partnership elements in your programs to win not just the sale but the long-term platform use of the client. This means your partnering strategy needs to be able to adapt to the ever-changing market dynamics and have a commitment to continuous improvement working through and with partners. 

In conclusion, the evolving landscape of partnering in the Channel presents challenges and opportunities for businesses.

By shifting the focus from selling products in a use and discard linear economy to selling partnerships and delivering exceptional customer experiences in a circular economy, companies can unlock new avenues for growth, innovation, and success in an ever-changing industry landscape. Embracing this transformation is essential for staying competitive and driving long-term value creation in the digital age. 


Single Post: Blog_Single_Post_Widget
bottom of page