Dear technology vendors,
Some of you are circumventing the IT consultant and attempting to upsell, renew, or seize the relationship with the end user with whom the consultant originated the vendor's business. I've seen three vendors bypass the IT consultant recently in an ill-conceived attempt to directly increase the vendor's revenue stream. This is unconscionable behavior.
Ultimately, the IT consultant's customers seek and require their expertise reviewing needs and dependencies, designing and architecting solutions, determining which technologies, products, software, devices, and equipment will best meet the customer's needs and implementing and supporting the solutions. The consultant subsequently invests significant energy researching and identifying the hardware, software, network, and equipment products, gauges how well the devices fulfill their promises, spends time and money to educate and certify its engineers on those product lines, and establishes a partnership with the vendor. These are traditional business methods and processes that are proven, work well, and best meet the needs of the end user, the consultant, and the vendor.
You must learn that such predatory behavior doesn't work. In fact, this cannibalistic behavior leaves the vendor looking troubled, confuses the client, and angers the consultant. Instead of eliminating the consultant (who best understands the client), the client's business, and the client's business needs and requirements, you should invest time building better products that operate more consistently, fail less often, and perform as promised.
If you continue to engage in such alienating behavior, your distribution channels will dry up quickly. All of the IT consultants and professionals I've spoken to about this issue agree that you should focus more effort on building better performing products and offering better support for your technology partners.
Frustrated consultants are turning their back on several major vendors for well-known competitors. As those new consultant-vendor relationships are developed, you can guarantee consultants will share the factors prompting the new relationship; vendors acquiring new partner accounts will be well advised to heed the writing on the wall. There are plenty of hardware and software providers, but the client typically looks to a small and tight cadre of trusted IT professionals for guidance and expertise.
Poll for IT consultants
IT consultants, has a tech vendor ever bypassed you and gone directly to the end user?
If you answered yes, please share your experience, including what you said to the vendor and to the client, in the discussion.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.