The Internet is Channel Partners’ Friend, IDC Insists Technology Leaders Are Developing Sites to Empower Their Partners

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Nov. 8 — Despite many predictions to the contrary, the Internet will work as a powerful ally rather than a decimating nemesis for channel partners. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), as companies move their strategic operations online, channel partners will see their resources increase.

"Because of the Internet's growing role in commerce, it is often thought that there is increasingly less room for channel partners and other types of intermediaries. But to say the middleman will disappear altogether is unrealistic," said Chris Silva, an analyst with IDC's Internet and eCommerce Strategies research program. "It is more accurate to say the role of the middleman will change over time, focusing perhaps less on the core product being sold and more on the ancillary benefits that the vendor has to offer — such as expert support and product information — and aftermarket concerns, such as repairs and add-on sales."

According to IDC, Cisco Systems, Compaq Computer, IBM, and Nortel Networks all have Web sites that were specifically developed to help support their channel partners. Features of these Web sites include online account status information, Net-to-phone contextual support, pricing and quoting features, collaboration forums, and a function that matches partners with aftermarket customers.

The vendors report most of their channel partners are enthusiastic about using the Web sites and often request additional functionality. "The vendors tell IDC that their channel partners are quickly becoming accustomed to the increased functionality and productivity that they experience and want more to be developed," Silva said.

IDC recently published "Partner Portals," Effective Strategies for Using the Internet to Support Channel Partners (IDC #B20562). The report examines how some of the leading IT suppliers are using the Internet to support their channel partners and how successful they have been. The report analyzes the elements of the site that are available as support resources to channel partners, the driving force behind development of the support solution, and the obstacles to implementation. Profiles on Cisco Systems, Compaq Computer, IBM, and Nortel Networks are included. For more information or to order a copy of the report, contact Sue Beauregard at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 4774 or at

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 42 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of International Data Group , the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

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