Innovation comes in countless shapes and forms.

Whether considered from a technology products and solutions standpoint or in terms of developing and advancing a company’s business, services, and culture, the role of solutions providers should be front and center.

In its 2018 IT Channels and Alliances Predictions study, research firm IDC states:

“By 2020, intellectual property will define the business models, the relations between partners and the value of the distribution channel. And manufacturers will be ‘judged’ by their capacity to integrate and extend the IPs of their partners.”

That’s great news, of course, provided the channel is prepared to effectively assume the responsibilities and deliver on corresponding expectations. As trusted advisors of our customers, we’ll take the brunt of the blame, perhaps deservedly, in the wake of a crisis. It’s our brands on the line, more so than ever today, given we’re putting increasingly complex solutions together.

That’s why it’s incumbent upon us to vet partners in much deeper ways to literally know what they offer and will do for us or on our behalf — under all types of circumstances that may arise. We must have no doubt the vendors we choose to support truly have our backs.

You may say this always has been important or critical, and you’re right.

 

Quenching The Thirst

What’s different is the backdrop. The unprecedented thirst for innovation and the opportunity to quench it for years to come. With transformation on the tongues of decision makers in every industry and vertical market, you cannot possibly be thinking otherwise. Here are three points to keep in mind as you weigh your options and overall strategic direction:

  1. Instead of trying to address each and every pain point a customer may experience, sharpen the focus in areas that are particularly well suited for your own emerging business model.
  1. Start with you, your value add today, and what you conclude it should become. You can’t completely ignore the fixations of current customers and what they want to do, but it could be a colossal misstep if that’s your starting point.
  1. Align with vendor partners you can trust from both IT and intellectual property value perspectives, where the advantages skew your way instead of the other way around.

 

Reinvent Or Restore?

If you’re not yet reinventing your core value, at some juncture you’ll likely face an uphill climb toward restoring solvency. Our own company’s resurgence and rebranding may yield some useful insights.

We see our firm as unique for a variety of reasons that include our status as a certified MBE (minority business enterprise) VAR. We always have placed strong emphasis on embracing diversity in thought, approach, as well as solutions because it’s the right thing to do. We’re also playing a lead role in helping our customers apply the same types of principles and advantages through the intellectual property we combine with SAP’s platform and applications.

This type of partnership means we can get to market faster with turnkey offerings that meet the heightened need for — and often untapped value of — diversity across all enterprises and industries. In short, we’re striving to fill a void that is calling out loud and clear, as this Forbes article attests, from all directions: hiring, developing, and leading.

Diversity, in our eyes, is what makes our company stronger and we know it will be among the most vital elements in the long-term success of our customers — all of them seeking transformation in one form or another. If they don’t put people first in the equation, that will undoubtedly bite back harder than almost any technological breakdown.

 

Prove It, Then Deliver

We also know most companies aren’t looking to make giant leaps of faith into unchartered waters, regardless of how enticing any innovation may appear. They want — and deserve — empirical evidence of what our IP can do for them. They also want to focus their energy on growing and managing their business, not their IT.

The challenges and demands the channel faces are, at least in one sense, not dissimilar to what other types of companies face amidst the tectonic shifts that are forever redefining social and workforce trends as well as consumer and B2B markets. That’s why no solutions provider can afford to continue warming the seats of complacency. After all, we’re not just chartered with revolutionizing our own business models and services; we must do the same for our customers.

In the end, it’s a combination of proven intellectual property, solid platforms, and dependable partnerships that will not only endure but thrive in this new test of time. Your IP will be the biggest difference maker, packaged as a service. Beware all the waves of disruption that can easily distract from such an urgent call to action, yet enterprises are primed for this approach. They crave intelligence and analytics to make better all-around decisions. Show them the way.

In the end, it’s not about IP, IT, R&D, or any other type of innovation. It’s about doing the most important things best and practically everything else better.

Capitalize by staying above the fray and by bringing proven as well as practical (and possibly everlasting) new intellectual property value to the forefront.