As the IT industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace, resellers face mounting challenges to keep up with the latest technologies and meet increasingly demanding customer requirements. Recently I have seen a real shift in the way reseller partnerships are working; from marketing and selling to the level of service and expertise that customers expect. The evolving reseller landscape seems to be changing; creating a huge number of possibilities for those willing to adapt and embrace new models of collaboration. I’ve noticed that rather than simply trying to cope on their own, savvy resellers are turning to partnerships as a way to thrive in this competitive environment. By combining their skills and expertise, the smartest companies are showing that they can unlock the synergies that exist, leading to enhanced innovation, agility, and improved customer value.

Before these changes, resellers and vars specifically have traditionally worked independently, each focusing on their specific product offerings – often adding or augmenting product sales with services and support either inhouse or vendor supplied. However, in today’s competitive business environment, some have realised that working together can lead to a more profitable and efficient business model. This shift has led to the rise of the reseller ecosystem, where teaming up to offer a more comprehensive and integrated solution to their clients seems to be a winning strategy.

I have been fascinated by the recent trend of resellers collaborating and partnering with each other rather than going it alone. This shift in mindset has been a game-changer for the industry, and I wanted to explore the reasons behind it because I believe that this trend is revolutionising the landscape. From pooling resources and expertise to offering a broader range of services and solutions, these partnerships are driving innovation and creating new opportunities for growth in a way I’ve never seen before. Effectively it’s as if resellers are now forming groups and working together as a unit.

The rise of these groups can be attributed to the changes around them and increasing pressure to provide a wider range of services to their clients; thus, leading to the realisation that working in unity can create a more effective solution. The groups are often formed by complementary companies who have expertise in different areas. For example, one may specialise in cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure, while another may specialise in virtualisation solutions like VMware vSphere. By working together, they can offer a more comprehensive solution.

However it’s important to note that specialising in specific technology sectors and vendor products can be costly, not only financially but also in time and resources. As a result, adding new solutions to a portfolio may sometimes be prohibitive, especially if the customer’s request is tactical rather than strategic. Resellers must carefully weigh the costs and benefits of investing in new technologies and solutions and determine whether it aligns with their long-term business goals. In today’s ever-changing IT landscape, it is essential for a balance to be struck between specialisation and flexibility, and to be open to exploring new opportunities for growth and innovation.

I believe another major benefit to the new model is the ability to offer a wider range of services. By combining their expertise, resellers appear to be able to offer a more comprehensive solution to their combined client base clients. This can lead to increased revenue and profitability for all members of the group especially when gates in partners programs can limit deal registration and special bid pricing or discounts to only the higher certified partners.

Another advantage these new super groups is the ability to share resources. Resources could be specific or general in nature but may cover training, accreditation, support, and even joint sales opportunities. By working together, combined resources can be pooled, offering a more efficient services. This can also lead to cost savings for all members of the ecosystem.

The rise of reseller ecosystems also gives younger members and smaller resellers a competitive edge. By joining forces with others, they are able to offer more comprehensive solutions that differentiate themselves from their competitors. This enables them to cover a wider range of technologies across the industry and gain access to new markets that may have been out of reach if individual. In addition, these ecosystems offer the opportunity for resellers to be introduced to vendors and validated distribution partners far sooner than ordinarily seen, thanks to the increased reach and credibility that comes with being part of a larger unit. As a result, these ecosystems are becoming an increasingly attractive option for those looking to expand their business and gain a competitive advantage.

While searching for anecdotal stories I have also spoken to partners that have formed a group without realising. I recently had a conversation with a reseller who specialises in cloud solutions. They’ve teamed up with another partner who specialises in cybersecurity – together, they’re now able offer a more comprehensive solution to their combined client base. Both parties and their customers have resounding praise for the model which has reduced costs, increased overall business for all parties and satisfied end users. The cloud reseller was able to focus on offering and specialising in Microsoft Azure solutions, while the cybersecurity reseller has a wider stable of best in class security vendors now integrated into each and every cloud proposal. This was a win-win situation for both organisation, as they were able to easily quantify the increased revenue and profitability while offering a more effective solution to their clients.

Another conversation I had this week was with a partner that specialises in virtualisation solutions. They had formed a multi reseller ecosystem with another who focused in networking and a third organisation with certified support and a service centre. The collaboration enabled them to offer a more comprehensive solution to their combined client base. The partnership proved so beneficial that both principles I spoke with agreed they would not consider going back to operating alone. However, they also emphasised the importance of trust and legal contracts in making these partnerships work effectively. Without these safeguards, it can be difficult to identify the real impact of the partnership on the business. Nevertheless, for those who are willing to take the necessary steps to establish a solid partnership, the rewards can be significant.

It seems this new supergroup has been able to differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering a more comprehensive solution with end-to-end expertise and support. I asked them if they may consider further consolidation in the future perhaps combing the three companies into one, the answer was a cheerful but resounding no! It appears that the benefits only stretch so far and they all like to have individual projects and specialisations.

The trend of resellers forming ecosystems and working collaboratively is rapidly gaining momentum. By pooling resources and expertise, reseller groups are able to offer much more than they can alone, increasing revenue and profitability, and gain a competitive edge in the market. If you are an IT reseller looking to grow your business, it may be time to consider forming a reseller group of your own.

It’s not without challenges but nevertheless, for those who are willing to put in the effort and take the necessary steps, the rewards can be significant. As the industry continues to evolve, it’s becoming increasingly clear that collaboration and partnerships will be critical to success. Whether you are a large or small reseller, there’s never been a better time to explore the possibilities of forming a reseller group and taking your business to the next level.