In the security industry, “The Channel” is discussed in hushed tones and dark corners; this omnipresent thing that mustn’t be disturbed, or the industry as we know it will cease to exist. Or so that is the reality that is typically portrayed.
The fear of disrupting The Channel is an oft-used scapegoat for why things are not done differently - ‘we would never do that, what would the channel say?’ Even when change is in the best interest of the customers and the industry at large, the channel is prioritized.
A landscape has been created where the companies (like HiveWatch) are willing to buck the trend and go direct are gaining favor with end-users. In the past, the industry has placed profits over customer retention, end-users are starving for service providers with a customer-centric approach.
"I do not believe this is a discussion of one over the other but a shift in how we envision The Channel. Therefore, I submit a transition to an actual customer-focused model, where the benefit of the end-user is the primary objective, and all entities within the channel are transparent regarding their role in the relationship."
Going direct is not necessarily a rogue anti-channel move. Instead, it prioritizes the customer and aims to deliver the best possible service. Should strategic alliances and channel partners be added over time, their role and value must be made clear to the end-user while ensuring the customer still has access to the original manufacturer. This touch point is lost in today’s channel structure, and it is infuriating to customers. A partner company may eventually provide service and support, and as long as this is made clear to the customer why it is that way, I am confident they will not have issues. (e.g., If I don’t have to focus on break/fix work, I can invest time in enhancing the product and delivering even more value to you, the customer.)
There may not be a one-size-fits-all approach for how one goes to market, but hiding behind the specter of The Channel to avoid change is a cop-out. Instead, our industry must learn to value customers, optimizing our businesses to service them. It’s time to revolutionize the way the security industry has been doing business, and get hip with the times.