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ASPs Partners Need TLC

ASPs have needs unlike any other channel partner, and vendors that don't recognize their unique needs and use the same techniques they do with their traditional channel partners risk ineffective ASP partnerships, according to IDC.

"ASP partners don't fit neatly into a vendor's more traditional partner definitions and can't be managed by generic partner programs," said Stephen Graham, vice president of IDC's Global Software Partnering and Alliances group. "Partner programs designed to meet the needs of the traditional channels are not likely to focus on areas ASPs deem important. ASPs require measures that are related more to business intention."

When working with other types of partners, software vendors often employ strategies that center around increasing partner satisfaction to increase business. According to IDC, this approach is unlikely to work with ASPs.

"This approach is likely to improve a vendor's image among partners and result in the ASP recommending the vendor to others, but it's unlikely to lead to increased business-building activity," Graham said. IDC recommends software vendors that want to drive business growth with an ASP develop a strategy that focuses on just that.

According to IDC, the strategy should include four main components:

  • Develop programs that potentially improve their sales.
  • Differentiate their programs by developing a high-quality ASP-specific product.
  • Standardize programs focused on providing product information.
  • Hold programs focused on effective advertising, co-op marketing and market development funds.

"Developing a partnering investment strategy that is aligned with the desired objective will help vendors enhance overall partnering effectiveness and efficiency," Graham said.

IDC recently published Building Better Partner Programs for ASPs (IDC #B23682), a bulletin that analyzes the differences between managing ASP partner programs from traditional programs. It is based on a survey of approximately 200 ASPs, and it includes insights on appropriate partnership objectives, key issues for building an effective value proposition for partner recruitment, areas that need to be addressed in successful ASP partner programs, and areas to focus program investment.

IDC, based in Framingham, Mass., is a global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice.