While several front-line organizations are facing the monumental task of battling the pandemic, tens of thousands of VARs, MSPs and ITSPs are busy keeping IT systems up and running as well as helping just about every business to maintain a productive and connected workforce from their homes. They are doing all this while dealing with their own personal challenges (Keep watching as we highlight more of their stories).

They understand that this is not the time to be over-selling stuff or price gouging. They know that this is the time to do the right thing and help where they can.

Channel partners and vendors understand that what they do now will be remembered when the dust settles.

All vendors (especially those with remote-working solutions) need to step up now to help educate and support their partners in innovative ways. Right now, many people who work from home will need to tweak their current remote set-up to increase productivity and protect from hackers. All this hard work will be laying down the foundation for the new digital business normal. Moving forward, it seems quite likely that every business continuity plan will include a work-from-home component. Interestingly, many are also realizing that doing many things virtually is actually more (cost and time) effective. Maybe this is the tipping point for digital transformation!

We are busy exploring all things that could help the channel to navigate these challenging times. Here are 10 things that we recently highlighted:

  1. VoIP Solutions from companies like UnitedCloud offer comprehensive features including integration with Microsoft Teams and built in AI that will record and analyze the conversations for better follow up and training. It’s the sort of communication tool that’s ideal for remote workers. The system can also be deployed remotely in minutes.
  2. Securing remote access of data and apps is one of the biggest challenges that every company has to overcome sooner rather than later. With such a massive rapid expansion of the remote workforce, hackers now have a lot more vectors of attack. Companies like Firemon, Digital Defense, Axcient, Netwrix and others are on the front-lines of this battle. We will be highlighting many more including SOCs built for MSPs over the coming weeks.
  3. Remote managing of employees to maintain productivity will also be a growing challenge. Veriato has an interesting solution for employee remote work-monitoring. It allows management to monitor the activities of all employees on their work computer. This is especially interesting for ensuring that all security policies are being followed while staff works from home. It can also help management to monitor their work behaviors (like downloading company data) and identify areas that are unproductive or need additional training.
  4. Collaboration and productivity solutions like Microsoft 365 and Teams are key tools for the remote workforce. Distributors like Sherweb are helping partners to do it right (They recently did a very comprehensive virtual workshop on everything to do with remote working including sharing how their hundreds of employees got up and running at home – click here to access).
  5. Seems like many remote workers will still need to print stuff but they no longer have access to the secure printers at the office. Eco Products Solutions, a local re-manufacturer of high quality ink and toner cartridges, is offering a bundle that includes a printer and extra cartridges at a special deal that channel partners can have dropped shipped directly to the homes of remote workers. The company also offers online ordering of all printer supplies at competitive prices. Using higher yielding printer cartridges at better prices with a proper recycle practice that helps the environment are all very good things to support today and for the future.
  6. Check out a webcast on how MSPs are coping with this crisis. One MSP wrote a great e-book on the topic that they give to their clients. They also offered other MSPs to customize and use for free! Download a free copy of this timely e-book from Debian IT.
  7. Check out 3 eChannelNEWS webcasts on how vendors and the channel should be navigating the crisis. Here is the first one I did with Jay McBain, principal analyst at Forrester Research. Check the others with Rob Rae of Datto and Michelle Ragusa-McBain of JSG. Combined, these 3 one-hour webcasts provide the deep and wide perspectives to best navigate this storm.
  8. ChannelNEXT EAST (face-to-face) event has been postponed until the pandemic is no longer a threat. Live events will be back! In the meantime, we added a Virtual Mastermind ChannelNEXT Conference on the same date. We are offering all vendors who sponsor our live events to participate in the virtual event for FREE. Any VAR, MSP or ITSP from ANYWHERE will now be able to join a peer group in a virtual video session to exchange ideas and solve their pain points with the guidance of a professional business coach. This is going to greatly help channel partners and vendors in these challenging times! Every channel partner should seriously consider joining a virtual Mastermind peer-group. Test the incredible value of being part of a peer-group by attending the VIRTUAL ChannelNEXT event on April 20-21(Register now at a special price). Attendees will experience TWO virtual mastermind sessions plus a lot more value-add content!
  9. We are recommending two very important and timely virtual business training boot camps for both vendors and channel partners. Leadership in times of Crisis by Tara Landes and “Social Selling For Virtual Warriors” by Shane Gibson. These courses are offered by two of the best experts on the respective topics. It is mission critical that ALL leaders skill-up to best manage this crisis and every sales rep must improve their digital selling skills. These coaches will guide you every step of the way. Vendors looking to support their partners during this crisis, should consider sponsoring them to get this very important knowledge – ask about a group purchase! More virtual workshops will be coming soon including “How to manage HR issues with available support by the Government”. If you are interested in learning more or signing up for these virtual training sessions at special prices and explore Government subsidies, then contact us. Subscribe to eChannelNEWS to get on the VIP invitation list to these and other virtual business educational courses.
  10. Watch for more webinars and virtual workshops that we will be hosting every week to help channel partners get support and learn about the best solutions to solve their urgent challenges. Check ChannelNEXT for upcoming virtual events and subscribe to eChannelNEWS to be updated.

Many vendors are already offering special incentives to keep more cash flowing in the channel. Some hardware vendors like Lenovo are offering a “Partner Stimulus Program“. We will continue to highlight these vendor “disaster relief” benefits to our channel community. Much more to come…

If you are a vendor and you have something of special value to help the channel, let our editors know.