The changing face of the Business Partner Model

By Joe Francica

Over the last decade, ESRI, MapInfo, Intergraph, and others have relied on "business partners," or private consultants to help market and sell desktop mapping software.Primarily it was put in place to "move boxes" off the shelves, build brand awareness and let the independent consultants provide services.Things are changing.Now, these larger software publishers want a bigger slice of the services pie.In fact, the business model of each of the three companies listed above is clearly one that shifts away from pure software sales to one of a "total solution" provider.So where does this leave the independent? That's what we would like to know.

From direct experience and from my colleagues in the industry, it is my understanding that the business partners are being squeezed out of the services side of the equation.Viewed as "too small" to handle the larger accounts, the independents are loosing business to the major GIS companies, even the smaller sized accounts that have traditionally been their "bread and butter." And hence, the argument would go that if you really want good service and current software updates, "why go through a business partner when you can deal direct with us."

True? We would like to explore this issue further.So, let's hear from those business partners feeling the squeeze.Or, tell us how satisfied your experience has been in dealing with the parent company with which you have a reselling relationship.Write to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) will keep your letters anonymous unless you tell us otherwise.

Published Thursday, February 14th, 2002

Written by Joe Francica

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