Channel organizations have been slow to adopt the use of business intelligence (BI) and the associated analytics. BI tools help drive the decision-making associated with your channel investments. The reality is that the technology industry lags behind other industries (such as the packaged goods) with regards to best practices in analytics. In the packaged goods industry, customer behaviors are tracked and analyzed throughout the buying cycle and little is left to chance. Companies such as General Mills have a true data-driven decision making approach.
Channel Analytics Best Practices
Companies define their reporting and analytics requirements based upon their business model, routes to market and on what their executive team consider essential. That said, there are best practices that should be adhered to:
- Make a clear distinction between operational metrics and analytical insights. Companies require both dimensions to improve operational performance and increase partner satisfaction and loyalty as well as increase indirect revenues and optimize channel investment ROI.
- Deliver actionable reporting. Make a distinction between “nice to have” vs. reporting that delivers clear insights from which to make programmatic and operational decisions can be made. Avoid data overload.
- Core channel reporting should be uniform across regions. You want to benchmark partner and program performance on a global scale and compare “apples to apples” between regions.
- Build in the capability that allows users to filter and produce personal report views. This allows the individuals to conduct analysis that will meet their specific business needs.
- Develop and maintain a global data mart for channel reporting and analytics with clearly defined data sources and a high level of data integrity and quality assurance.
- Develop and enhance reporting and analytics capabilities over time to allow for input and buy-in from all stakeholders involved and to ensure data integrity. Test and QA new reporting functionality and analytics capabilities.
Analytics Help the Bottom Line
Given that many technology companies generate 50 – 90% of company revenues through channel partners the inability to make data-driven decisions limits the organization ability to increase indirect sales and improve channel investment ROI.
The development of a sound channel analytics practice does requires a significant investment in time and budget in addition to experienced resources to create a comprehensive channel reporting and analytics framework. Our advice is to employ a phased approach whereby the channel organization evolves its data driven channel management decision making process from operational metrics reporting to more sophisticated analytics insights while maintaining a laser focus on:
• Establishing a sound data mart and analytics infrastructure
• Developing core metrics for operational and performance reporting and dash boarding
• Delivering key insights through analytics, enabling management to make data driven decisions
Perfection is not a prerequisite to begin your journey.
You can start to “make it smart” with the data you have today. The result— insight into the incremental effect of your channel programs and your partners’ value contribution, with the knowledge to increase their effectiveness.
Yes, this effort requires a significant investment, buy-in across departments, and sponsorship from senior management but consider the alternative. Want more information?
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