IndependenceIT’s Lippie: Channel Eclipse Looms

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independenceIT’s Jim Lippie says the industry is starting down an astronomical shift in which large direct companies are taking market share from MSPs and VARs at an unprecedented clip. Hear what this "channel eclipse" means to solution providers and how you can survive -- and even thrive -- in increasingly turbulent and cloud-driven times.

eclipseThere may be more than dark clouds rolling in on the economic horizon. To hear independenceIT’s Jim Lippie tell it, the industry is staring down a “channel eclipse” in which large direct companies are taking market share from MSPs and VARs at an unprecedented clip.

Lippie, executive vice president of business development at independence IT -- a cloud services management platform provider serving VARs, ISVs and MSPs from its home base in Allentown, Pa. -- sat down with Channelnomics editor-in-chief Chris Gonsalves to discuss what the channel eclipse means to solution providers and how they can prepare themselves to survive and even thrive in these increasingly turbulent and cloud-driven times.

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Listen to the full Channelnomics Newsmakers interview here:
[audio mp3="http://channelnomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Lippie_podcast_03-01-13.mp3"][/audio]

Lippie discusses the years BC -- “before cloud” -- when solution providers could count on vendors like Microsoft Corp. and Dell Inc. to deliver the goods and work to enable channel sales. Those days are over, Lippie says, with even the most trusted vendors selling direct and a host of born-in-the cloud technology companies stealing channel market share and eroding margins.

[caption id="attachment_25352" align="alignright" width="190"]Jim Lippie independenceIT’s Jim Lippie[/caption]

In the podcast, Lippie details six key points solution providers can use to keep the channel eclipse from darkening the skies around their businesses:

* Avoid partnerships with providers that would rather take your client relationships direct. This includes vendors like Microsoft and Google Inc. “These companies are essentially your competitors,” he says.

* Look for providers that allow private labeling of their services and don’t sell direct. “Make sure the customer knows the service is coming from you.”

* Embrace a cloud strategy to maintain control of client relationships with a focus on apps. “Manage that client relationship the same way [you’ve] been doing for on-premises solutions.”

* Find a cloud strategy that allows you to bundle existing managed services. “Maximize your value to the client … and the profit you can make as an organization.”

* Understand the value you provide to clients that a big, direct player cannot. “Make sure they know you have a responsive help desk, network expertise, strategic consulting … that you are accountable to them.”

* Don’t give control of your business to technical people who want to build their own kingdom. “A lot of IT folks within MSPs are becoming barriers to adopting partnerships that provide cloud solutions. These are business decisions that need to be made by business people.”

Hear the full interview here:

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