As the science and technology side of quantum continues to advance, the business side begins to take shape. Organizations focused on developing the technology are now creating strategies that allow them to stay focused. They also want to maximize their limited resources and that includes money. After all, they are just entering into the early stages of commercialization of this rapidly developing emerging technology. This has led a growing number of quantum computing organizations to create a channel strategy.
A quantum computing channel strategy is a plan that defines the details of the organization’s approach to sell their products, and in some cases services. They are going through an entity outside of their organization that has an established infrastructure and professional connections into one or more customer/market segments. Once the quantum computing organization has a formal agreement in place, the channel partner initiates sales and marketing efforts. Many leverage a set of co-marketing activities that mutually introduce the channel partners’ new offering to their contact base that includes their existing customers and those that they are targeting.
METRIC: Last year (2019) publish reports stated that Microsoft, that has a quantum computing component, had an astonishing 7,500 new organizations joining their overall channel partner program monthly.
According to a number of articles and studies by management consulting firms, upwards of 70 percent of high-tech organizations leverage their network of channel partners to provide capabilities as well as internal and external support and grow their organizations. When examining technology channel partners in general and the current state of the quantum computing market, here are the top five channel partner areas for quantum technology providers.
- Quantum Technology Sales & Marketing
- Physical Location Modification, Support, Installation & Setup
- Training – Operations, Maintenance and Programming
- Quantum Computing Company Support and Help Desk
- Technology Management Consulting and Advisory Services
To create a best-in-class channel program the single most important component is finding the right channel partner and that is not a trivial task. Once this has happened and a formal agreement is in place, it is critical for quantum computing companies to establish solid bi-directional communications with the channel partners. This allows the channel partners to drive both interest and satisfaction within their customer base and targets. The next thing you need to do is to encourage the channel partners to create and publish meaningful case studies and whitepapers that examine the business value quantum technology solutions have brought in real-world applications. Finally, best-in-class channel programs must establish/negotiate a set of channel partner metrics and measures that are regularly reported. These provide the quantum technology company insight into their efforts as well as changes that often occur.
Quantum technology providers have risks associated with implementing a channel program. Arguably the biggest is finding the right channel partners, training them and supporting them throughout their early efforts until they get their legs under them and their process begins to stabilize and mature. A bad channel partner can damage your company name and brand. Invest the time. You must conduct the background research on the channel partner, create a scorecard to measure their success and progress over time. Meet with your channel partners (in person and virtually), discuss their scorecard, get their feedback and ask what you can do to help. After all, their success is your success! On the other hand, not leveraging the capabilities of channel partners poses its own risks. Perhaps the largest is, missing out on business opportunities.