Cloud is one of the trending topics these days. Slowly, it comes also to PLM space. With the growing number of companies in this space, it becomes clear that cloud is the future of business software and not a baloney as some of the people predicted few years ago when “the cloud” was mentioned first time. However, today I want to raise a topic, which is far from “cloud technologies” and talk about one of the aspects of business called “channel”. Every company needs to develop their channel to sell what they produce and PLM companies are not exclusion from this rule. The ability to have an effective channel made many companies extremely successful. Think about Autodesk or SolidWorks resellers. In the past, they played a key role in the development of businesses for both successful companies. If you have some time, I can recommend you the following reading about SolidWorks VAR channel written by Jeff Ray, former CEO of SolidWorks published by David Skok on his blog.
I found the video below interesting in the context of channel and cloud business. You can see Guy Weismantel, Microsoft’s director of ERP Marketing, talking about the future Microsoft Dynamics and cloud partners.
I think, everything said by Guy make a lot of sense for PLM business as well. The role of channel(s) can be changed significantly at the time software becomes available online on the internet. There are few fundamental differences – availability with no installation, subscription, customization level, services and support. So, will traditional distribution model is going to disappear? Or existing distribution channels will require some groundbreaking changes?
In my view, business partners and channels are in front of significant changes. Usage of the internet will completely change the landscape of PLM reseller channels. They will need to shift the focus more towards business and product development software consultancy and less focusing on software delivery, training and installation. Customization will become an interesting portion of business related to how cloud software can be adapted inside of the companies.
What is my conclusion? It is clear to me, PLM distribution channels are going to pass a significant change as a consequence of business switching towards cloud solutions. The relationships in the triangle vendor-customer-partner is going to change. It will be a big shift. Many surprises on the way… Just my thoughts.