Achieving Channel Success in a XaaS Economy

  • June 18, 2020

Digital transformation has never been more relevant than it is today with the COVID-19 pandemic. Making matters a bit more complex is the simultaneous transition of most IT channels to some sort of subscription model. During my most recent ChannelEdge podcast, I spoke with Kristine Stewart, Vice President of Client Success & Marketing at Channel Impact about the nine-step process she co-developed with Robert Saxe of nVision for achieving channel success in an X as a Service (XaaS) economy.

This nine-step business model framework for transition to XaaS involves businesses across any vertical getting the right mechanisms, incentives and analytics in place to successfully transform a channel organization to XaaS. All of this must take place with the backdrop of some significant trends in the channel, including the evolution of the partner community, as well as the emergence of different types of partners that specialize in a variety of channel needs.

As outlined during the podcast discussion, nine steps that will enable channel success in a post-COVID, XaaS world as follows:

  1. Set a new north star Breaking down organizational silos can be hard, but in order to begin the journey, players must get aligned. Once everyone is on the same page, evolving your channel strategy to bolster your XaaS strategy is critical.
  2. Make tough strategic choices The partner journey is a moving target and leadership must be constantly assessing which partners are relevant and along for the ride and which they must let go. These are difficult choices that have to be made.
  3. Identify economics and real-life financial implications Develop joint business plans and carefully monitor the partner performance journey on a regular basis. Course correction is always an option down the road.
  4. Extend customer engagement framework across entire lifecycle Make the customer experience the focus at all times and across all partners. Create a scalable XaaS customer journey map and define what engagement tools work.
  5. Evolve new value offerings and lifecycle capabilities As partners evolve in the XaaS ecosystem, so must the incentives and offerings that motivate those partners to achieve peak performance, increase renewals and more. These tools and offerings should be furthering the mission to elevate the overall customer experience throughout the customer journey.
  6. Rethink organizational models and roles By defining each partner’s roles early and providing the specific clarity that’s needed to create successful business outcomes, organizations can avoid a great deal of conflict. This may require a new approach to selling and supporting customers, but the vendor must lead the way.
  7. Modernize Go-To-Market (GTM) readiness and activation Gathering data and putting that data to work is critical to increased productivity and successful outcomes. That’s where channel automation platforms and the Tech Stack come into play. If you’re not getting the most out of a platform or it isn’t successfully integrated, then change is needed.
  8. Secure quick wins and scale up Success breeds success, so when partners can see positive customer use cases that made a difference and that support those successes, they’re more likely to go down the same path.
  9. Drive accountability for sustained behavioral change and execution Don’t do it if you can’t measure it. Budgets are tight, especially now, so brands must set clear objectives and KPIs to deliver on continuously. Expectations on what success looks like is essential and automation is key to accomplish this.

As companies in every vertical emerge from this global pandemic, the time is now to begin the journey of transition and evolution within their own company and throughout the channel – all of which may involve tough choices and re-thinking the status quo. The XaaS world is here to stay and those that decide to pivot, scale and rethink will be at a substantial competitive advantage moving forward.

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