There’s one really good reason that the use of managed services contracts will increase dramatically this year, and that’s because right now it is way easier for businesses to justify some sort of finite, predictable operational expense that might squeak under the radar of their individual department than it is to push some massive P.O. up to the finance department.
The credit and financing situation across the channel is becoming a matter of gut-wrenching discussions.
I ask every single VAR or reseller that I interview how their books are faring, and to a person, they admit their deep worry over how to shepherd each potential deal to closure. For many, getting paid is a challenge, as customers juggle their own bank accounts. Payments are extending way beyond 30 days, which in turn makes it difficult for solution providers to meet their own obligations up the foodchain.
Others have seen the sudden, unexplained shut-down of their credit lines, if for no other reason than that they are a small business and the bank is afraid to lend money. Um, actually, wasn’t that why we gave financial services BILLIONS of dollars, so they didn’t keep taking out their problems on companies and people who have played by the rules?
It strikes me that one really impactful thing that any channel program manager could do write now for his or her partners is figure out how to help make the transaction happen, whether it’s by coming up with great leasing options or ensuring that distributors and others are able to keep extending credit.
I had not heard much about what people are doing until yesterday, when I caught wind of two new zero percent financing programs that Hewlett-Packard has introduced to inspire some spending on the part of small businesses. One covers a 12-month promotion to buy the equipment outright, the other relates to a 36-month lease. The types of products covered are limited, but they do cover the gamut of HP’s technologies. Both promotions are available through April 30, 2009, in the United States and Canada. You can read more about the services introduced by HP this week at this link.
OK, sock it to me: If you’re a distributor, a vendor or a VAR who has an answer or a program to address the channel credit crunch, I’m all ears. Let’s get the word out so that everyone can benefit. Because if your partner can’t get the deal done, neither can you.
You can reach me at the following e-mail: email@example.com.