Feature: A gateway to partner success

With channel partners calling for increasingly efficient means of digital connection, Westcon-Comstor has launched PartnerCentral. CTO Rakesh Parbhoo, discusses the new platform.

What is PartnerCentral?

PartnerCentral is a new multivendor marketplace. It’s a marketplace – and more. A place where partners can configure, quote and order complex hybrid solutions. From software, hardware, services or a combination of all three, partners can use the platform to accelerate their move to the cloud and adoption for as-a-service business models.

Our partners have voiced their need for more efficient digital connections, responsiveness and ease of engagement – an PartnerCentral is our response. Not only does it make it simpler to offer these services to end customers by easing the procurement and management of recurring offers, but it gives full visibility and control over the entire cloud supply chain. In addition, a tool known as Partner Insights gives partners the business and customer insights they need to capitalise on new opportunities and market trends.

Why do we need it?

B2B buyers increasingly want to engage with suppliers through digital and self-services channels. In fact, Gartner has predicted that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. This shift, together with the increasing adoption of subscription and as-a-service models, is prompting a significant change in the way we all buy, sell and manage technology – and keeping up with these changes has never been more important.

However, when speaking to our channel partners directly, we noticed a common struggle when trying to migrate to subscriptions and services. Our latest research found that 78% of partners are only part way through this journey and facing a variety of challenges in realising this full migration. Additionally, 60% of partners believe that a single platform to buy hardware and software will help accelerate this shift.

PartnerCentral provides the ability to simplify complex transactions with an innovative marketplace experience. It brings transactional tools, data, insights, enablement and learning capabilities together to help partners succeed in this dynamic XaaS-focused world.

How does it benefit channel partners?

Channel partners crave a digital interface to help them transform into more efficient and data-driven businesses. They also need the insight and foresight to recognise new opportunities before their customers ask for them. PartnerCentral brings this. It puts our partners firmly in the driver’s seat by giving them a single platform to buy and manage hardware, software, and services in one place and also, the ability to track customer trends and challenges that can lead to new opportunities.

PartnerCentral helps increase productivity, efficiency, and agility, streamlining their business for success in today’s digital world. All of this is underpinned by advanced APIs and automation, making sure partners have complete visibility and control so they can focus on what matters most – their customers.

What makes PartnerCentral different from competitor marketplaces?

Created with our partners’ needs in mind, PartnerCentral has completely transformed the way we work together. Subscription and as-a-service models can be complex to manage at scale but PartnerCentral makes it simpler to offer these services to end customers by easing the procurement and management of recurring offers. However, its capabilities extend far beyond just the transactions.

What makes PartnerCentral truly transformational is that it allows partners to self-serve with confidence. We have learning content, soft-skills and technical training that partners can access, including marketing capabilities that they can leverage to build their businesses.

Additional access to robust reporting and insights (through our secret weapon, Partner Insights) allows partners to track their engagements with customers and evaluate wider industry trends that can help identify new business opportunities. In a nutshell, PartnerCentral is a gateway to partner success. Because with this marketplace, partners can better understand product lifecycles and be more responsive to growth opportunities.

How do partners access it?

PartnerCentral is easily available for our partners via our website. Our suite of partner applications can be found on this one central access page and only requires one single sign-on authentication. We’ve prioritised simplicity and safety, and there are different options depending on an organisation’s technical set up.

PartnerCentral is available to partners in the UK, along with all English-speaking countries across Europe, Middle East & Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Partners in German, French and Spanish speaking countries, and the APAC region, will be able to access PartnerCentral in the next quarter.

How do you see partner relationships developing over the next twelve months?

We’ve worked closely with our beta customers during the development of PartnerCentral, and will do the same with new ones that sign up, always continuously enhancing it. Looking forward, we’ve got a development roadmap we’ll introduce based on our partner feedback. We’re also having exciting conversations with our vendors who are looking to bring new solutions to market and see PartnerCentral as a window to execute. PartnerCentral is a journey in which we’ll continue to invest over the coming years. And that’s why PartnerCentral is so much more than a marketplace. It represents a transformative shift in the way Westcon-Comstor works with its partners, from today and into the future.

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