Vendors Show Significant Interest in Partner Portals, IDC Says
FRAMINGHAM, MA – JUNE 20, 2000 – IT vendors are excited about the idea of partner portals, and many are now working diligently to develop this business tool. According to IDC, partner portals offer software vendors several benefits, including helping them to decrease their channel costs, better match resources to partners, create a single platform to deal with multiple partner types, capture mindshare among partners, and gather information about how partners want to interact.
IDC defines a partner portal, or portnal, as a platform for vendors to deliver services to partners who recommend, sell, implement, and/or support their products. Partner portals use the Internet or secured lines to extend the functionality and processes of the vendor's organization to partners, to support sales and delivery, and to help the vendor more accurately manage the allocation and use of channel resources.
"The ultimate goal of vendors that deal with partners is to create the most efficient machine possible, and the Internet offers the platform to do this," said Steve McHale, research director with IDC's Software Partnering and Alliances program. "Vendors that fail to recognize the benefits of partner portals risk missing the opportunity to show true leadership in partner management and market development."
Partner portals represent a new initiative, and there are no hard and fast rules about their requirements. Different vendors will have different ideas. The one thing that a partner portal must do to differentiate it from an extranet is support the key elements of business relationships with partners and the end-to-end business transactions – from presales support through negotiation, contract provision, product delivery, and management of channel support tools, including education, marketing support funds and rebates, and product promotions.
"Essentially, the portnal is a business center," McHale said. "Rather than a gateway to other sites on the Internet, this is a gateway into the network of business intelligence, processes, support, and partners that so many vendors have taken such great pains to develop. The portnal capitalizes on the investment vendors have made in their partner structure, by facilitating access to their resources and greater cooperation among their partners, which multiplies the capabilities of their products and their channel investment."
Download IDC's Report for Free
IDC recently published Partner Portals: Networking at the Speed of Business (IDC #B22422). This report analyzes what a partner portal is, the requirements for building one, and the benefits of it. The report examines the elements of partner portals for sales support, logistics, and channel management. It also looks at vendor efforts to develop partner portals, including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Computer Associates, VARStreet.com, Compaq, and BMC Software. The report can be downloaded for no charge at http://www.idc.com/software/spa.
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