Channel needs to lead conversation around big data

Solution providers and SIs have traditionally worked with IT managers or C-level executives to sell specific technologies. With talk around data intelligence garnering clout, are resellers taking the lead on this?

Tags: Systems integrator
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Channel needs to lead conversation around big data ((ITP Images))
By  Manda Banda Published  July 22, 2014

If you are solution provider, systems integrator or value-added reseller (VAR), chances are that you have worked in and around data centres. It is also likely that you have collaborated with other peers in the analytics sphere and know that there is a growing demand from customers for deeper insights into unstructured data and big data.

If you are not already leading your customers as a trusted business advisor in understanding big data, then now is the right time to shake up this paradigm. Business executives at C-level in addition to the CIO want to know more about how they can extract actionable, valuable information from all the data their IT teams are storing, and apply it to strategic business needs. The C-suite has questions about how to turn data into information, and channel partners should be delivering the answers.

The opportunity that has presented itself for savvy resellers requires taking data from a client’s storage system and transforming it into actionable information on the balance sheet.

To put things into perspective, let’s consider a typical sales scenario. A reseller, solution provider, VAR or SI might approach an IT contact inside an organisation. The partner would ask which storage solution the organisation uses, and then explain why the product and brand he or she sells is better. This methodology has worked fine for years, but as line-of-business executives begin to realise the strategic value of their structured and unstructured data, resellers need to get more strategic.

A shrewd channel partner can evaluate what a client has for storage and quickly recognise that the company is doing nothing more with its data beyond the traditional backing up.

With this information in hand, a reseller would then guide the client to look at its data differently and how such a move would aid it to reap significant business benefits in terms of sales, productivity, compliance and more.

Channel partners that understand the technology aspect and the business pain points can bring IT and business executives to the table to discuss solutions with ROI that will be felt far beyond the data centre.

To lead a conversation around impactful data intelligence and analytics, channel partners need to ask, “Who is today’s buyer and who owns the data?” More often, the answer to this question should include a C-level executive, either before contact with the IT department or, preferably, in conjunction with it. The channel has an opportunity to help elevate IT from the lower ground room to the boardroom, where technically focused staff can help business leaders understand how to get more from their data.

Research firm IDC predicts that the overall big data technology and services market globally will grow at a rate of 31.7% through 2016, when it will hit a predicted value of $23.8bn. Clearly, there is opportunity here. However, maximising that opportunity will require channel partners to show their understanding of how the technology solutions and services they sell affect business goals and objectives.

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