Popularity of partner programmes wanes

The ongoing relevance and popularity of a key channel engagement model deployed by vendors has become a point of discussion following research by Canalys that identified a drop in the appeal of partner programmes among VARs.

The importance of IT vendor programmes to channel partners has fallen this year compared to 2016, according to Canalys which says just 77% of those surveyed rated partner programmes as important when evaluating vendor relationships, down from 94% two years ago.

Almost a tenth of respondents surveyed this summer rated partner programmes as 'not at all important', while almost a quarter think they are 'lacking importance'.

Alex Smith, Senior Director of Channels Research at Canalys, said: "The results come as a warning to vendors that they must get partners aligned as the market faces disruption from cloud and digital technologies.

“Increasingly, the ball is in the channel’s court. Partners have more levers to pull, they can provide more of their own services or make new technology vendor partnerships to meet specific opportunities. 

"Meanwhile, vendors often alter programmes to reflect changes in partner business models and to spur loyalty, but such changes can have the unintended consequence of increasing complexity, leading to frustration.”

The two big negative issues impacting the status of vendor programmes were identified as their lack of consistency and over complexity in certifications and specialisations.

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