Effective Channel Partner Programs Have Created a “Bubble-Up” Effect
As organizations continue to migrate their IT infrastructures and applications to the cloud, I’ve noticed something interesting happening. Initially, the migration was driven by sales and marketing. Yes, some insightful IT and business managers saw the value proposition of the cloud early on—lower costs, the off-loading of hardware ownership and maintenance of equipment, automated software upgrades, responsibility for security, business continuity and more. Until recently, though, education and persuasion were required to give other organizations the confidence to take the leap.
Lately, I’ve noticed a “bubble-up” effect in which organizations are initiating conversations with their trusted IT advisors (channel partners) about moving not just core data-driven applications, but also their business communications systems to the cloud. Increasingly, I hear customers say that going forward they will be “cloud first” and “cloud only” when it comes to all things IT.
This is a very positive development for vendors and channel partners. It allows us to get to the conversations about how to move to the cloud and what platforms and solutions to employ much faster, which leads to quicker implementation and accelerated business results and returns on investments.
Customers are growing more sophisticated, as evidenced by their expectations of the integrated capabilities, overall flexibility, and improved user experiences they want from their cloud deployments. They’re not just looking to move business applications and business communications solutions to the cloud. They also want these applications and solutions to be tightly integrated on the same open platform.
At RingCentral, we noticed this trend some time ago and released open APIs and a mobile app that enable organizations and their users to infuse RingCentral Office® right into their key applications including Salesforce®, Gmail™, Outlook®, Microsoft Office 365™, Zendesk®, ServiceNow®, and Box. These integrations enable users to click-to-dial to initiate voice and video conference calls, send texts, record calls and more, saving them significant time. As one customer put it: “It takes a lot of the work out of work.”
The bubble-up trend I’ve described is the result of a number of factors. Not the least of these is that customers rely on RingCentral partners as trusted advisors to guide them and help them make the best choices for their businesses. That’s why we value our channel partners so highly. By directly addressing customers’ desires to have advanced capabilities without having to learn how to manage the complexity that underlies those capabilities, channel partners allow them to focus on their core competencies and offerings.
We also value our partners for the feedback and insights they provide to us based on experiences with their customers. From ongoing conversations with our partners, we learn more about customer expectations, wish lists, and business strategies, and we can factor that information into our own R&D work, which means that our partners are not just trusted advisors to their customers, but to us as well.