Guest Column | September 12, 2022

A Data-Driven Approach To The Channel: Enabling A Successful Solution-Centric Ecosystem

By Jamil King, Panasonic Connect


The channel has become data driven. Data provides vendors, resellers, and service providers with a holistic view of customer needs and objectives, which enables smart and successful solution recommendations. According to Forrester, effectively using real-time data leads to improved speed-to-market, increased return on investment (ROI) for all involved, and greater power with actionable insights available at every opportunity stage.

As companies across industries embrace digital transformation, channel partners are critical to a successful solution-centric ecosystem—from deployment to installation to management. A recent study found that 82% of companies use partnerships to fill in gaps in their capabilities. As companies navigate this transformation with varying bandwidth and IT resources, data (and what a data-driven approach can achieve) heightens. Furthermore, managed services can work to proactively address potential customer issues and make data accessible, sharable, and actionable.

Data Reveals Patterns

Data helps channel partners know what the customer needs and when. Even though business is constantly changing, data reveals patterns and enhances predictability. Whether you’re looking at operational data—such as the effectiveness of currently deployed solutions, how devices are used throughout workflows, and even through different stages of device health—it will help provide future recommendations. Take this example: imagine that you have fleets out in the field working for long periods of time instead of just one worker who is limited to 8 hours per day. This completely changes not only which type of solution you would deploy but also how they are managed, serviced, and maintained for peak performance. For these use cases, managed service offerings such as remote battery monitoring and remote device management tools are fundamental to success. If a device goes out of use or is unaccounted for, or has issues with the battery, latency, or reboot frequency when in the field, it results in time wasted for workers and resources and dollars wasted for the organization. Furthermore, understanding customer operations through data helps partners deliver added value through an integrated system rather than one-off and disconnected products. Predictive action – powered by data – is the future.

Eliminate Siloes And Communicate Seamlessly

Data visibility strengthens ties within the channel. Vendors offering digital platforms such as partner portals can connect instantly with channel partners and customers. Business happens at the moment, so partner portals can be used to know where assets are, provide service and maintenance upgrades, and know when hardware and software need replacing. For example, partners can know when a device may need a new software upgrade to run at peak performance, or vendors can let the customer know about new device capabilities to enhance operations. Data uncovers opportunity. This 360-degree view ensures that customers utilize solutions that result in positive ROI, support business goals and build an integrated hardware and software ecosystem. By creating a space where all parties can communicate seamlessly, the most can be made out of technology from day one of deployment to the end of its life cycle. This also helps inform new business endeavors by understanding the challenges currently plaguing the market or external pressures that are generating usage shifts for deployed technologies. Communication is key.

Opportunity Lies Ahead

Future enterprise solutions will integrate entire business ecosystems, not just one specific piece of hardware or software. Rather than piecing together multiple disparate technologies, organizations are providing a holistic solution that encompasses all these elements – in coordination with their partner ecosystem. As the channel becomes more connected and managed services get closer to the core offering, it will experience increased integration, agility, and flexibility within a consolidated and informed model. Partner programs will become tailored and more focused on delivering a superior user experience while facilitating greater loyalty between partners and customers. Managed services as part of a solution will be the norm.

To move forward, channel partners need to maximize data for informed recommendations and real-time accommodations. With an abundance of data readily available, the potential is ripe for new opportunities to meet customer needs quickly and effectively to enhance the overall user experience and help improve business outcomes.

About The Author

Jamil King is Director, U.S. Mobility Channel at Panasonic Connect.