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Calendar year 2020 was my first full year in the role as Vice President of Research for XaaS Channel Optimization. Whenever I spoke with prospective new members in the first half of the year, three key questions came up more often than any others.
Now that 2020 is over and 2021 is underway, the questions and trends are shifting. As a result of COVID-19, TSIA has identified the trends that we are seeing in the marketplace which have accelerated (i.e., they were present pre-COVID, but now are on “steroids”). From a partner ecosystem lens, I like to highlight these:
The move to XaaS has far and away been the key trend that has accelerated all the others, and this has been validated via conversations with TSIA member companies in nearly every segment of the technology industry. The XaaS transformation has changed the priority and even the validity of the three common questions from early 2020 mentioned above.
This acceleration to XaaS has made the first of the questions virtually irrelevant. Companies that I speak with think that if partner companies do not want to move to the XaaS model, they will (and should) be left behind.
Based on conversations that I have had with TSIA member companies in late 2020 and early 2021, the three questions have evolved into the following.
As I think about these questions, I realize that companies will be focused on different questions as they work through their XaaS maturity model. Using the TSIA Fish Model below, these questions map nicely to the maturity of a vendor company in their XaaS journey.
If the vendor company is early in their journey to XaaS, they are focused on the first two questions in the sequence.
If they are fully committed to XaaS as a company and have decided to turn their backs on the perpetual model and invest solely on the XaaS model, they are focused on the middle two questions.
And those companies that are fully “SaaS” or “XaaS” or Born in the Cloud are definitely focused on the last two questions. They are tuning their model. They are looking for ways to become more optimized, efficient, and effective with the partners they have and provide the business value as an ecosystem to their customers.
The companies that are “on the right side of the Fish” are focused on delivering customers a return on their technology investments, securing seamless renewals, and reducing churn because the customers are able, with the partners’ support and assistance, to articulate business outcomes and value realized through the technology solution.
As we turn the calendar page to a brighter 2021, I believe we will see customers are laser-focused on assuring that every dollar spent for technology is returned in value and achievement of planned results. This shift will cause a ripple effect through the partner communities as again, they are forced to accelerate their business models from pay-up-front to pay-as-you-go based on customers’ demands.
In the TSIA State of XaaS Partner Channel Optimization 2021 research paper, I will cover this topic in more depth as I have explored the avenues for motivating and driving partners via incentives for value realization and business outcomes.
Happy New Year, and the brightest and best wishes for a healthy and profitable 2021!
Post Date: January 21, 2021
Anne M. McClelland is the vice president of XaaS channel optimization research for TSIA. In this role, she works with closely with member companies to deliver research and advisory programs that help them optimize their channels to drive incremental revenue at scale for XaaS offerings. Throughout her career as a global partner and channels executive, Anne has built new partner organizations from the ground up, driven revenue from new partner communities, and launched programs and tools to support these partner efforts.
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