Shifting operations to a platform basis comes with its own set of adoption and onboarding complications.
Distribution platforms are becoming increasingly popular within the IT distribution industry, as the channel shifts to cloud and enters a new era of digitalization.
As a result, nearly all channel intermediaries are getting involved in platform-based operations in some way. Vendors are requiring platforms on which to distribute their products, distributors are either building their own or searching for a cost-effective market platform to purchase and tailor to their own businesses, and resellers are needing online distribution platforms in due partly to demand from a digitally well-educated end-user base.
Adoption and Onboarding Issues
It’s not all plain sailing though, and adopting an IT distribution platform can come with its own complications. For one, distributors and resellers need to focus on selling product, not on running the overly complicated IT projects which building one’s own distribution platform entails.
To create a fully integrated and efficient platform, businesses require a full-time development team, a full-time infrastructure maintenance team and a full time application, integration and infrastructure support team. For channel businesses to host such teams in-house is expensive, complex and falls outside the scope of their expertise, forcing them to think hard about the viability of such a project.
Onboarding customers onto a platform can prove problematic…
For many channel businesses, an affordable, externally developed B2B channel distribution platform with existing and clearly-defined API integration protocols is an ideal solution to the above dilemma.
Such a platform would mirror the existing distribution channel in that users could digitally manage their sales and operations workflow through the platform in real-time, with significant automation benefits. It would enable self-fulfillment from a customer level, meaning that customers can login, quote and generate orders, as well as manage their business operations via their own access to the platform.
For distributors and resellers, onboarding customers onto such a platform can prove problematic however. Changing core business operations can be difficult and problematic within one’s own business, nevermind trying to amend those of a supplier or customer.
Nevertheless, this can be overcome by clearly demonstrating the product’s benefits to potential customers in a way that makes sense within their own business context.
By making use of free demos and platform trials, resellers and end-users can be sufficiently enabled via the digital customer experience, so that rather than feeling forced onto a distribution platform, they can clearly see the value of the system for themselves, and are thus motivated to amend their own business operations to include such a platform accordingly.