How to Maintain the Clientele? A Primer for Channel Managers in HAM Arena

By CIOReview | Monday, September 19, 2016

Today, the term ‘hardware asset’ encapsulates variety of devices such as desktops, laptops, printers, scanners etc. By default, hardware asset management (HAM) is viewed as one of the administrative tasks that involve regular inventory and hardware checks. The new workplace trends like mobility and BYOD have added a dimension to arena of HAM and thus have impelled organizations and channel managers to reshape their strategies. However, both the stakeholders have so far sidetracked HAM-a key aspect of business and this may lead to security breaches, economic blunders, and regulatory compliance failures. Channel managers have greater role to play in ensuring better HAM experience. However, their willingness to contribute for the process is questionable. Let us delve into more details. 

Loss for client equals gain for channel?

Channel managers consider non-compliant asset management practices performed by the clients as a business opportunity. Usually, the channels offer services and products that would somehow let the client to comply with regulatory policy if the client has indulged in anti-regulatory activities. There is high probability that the client would eventually tag the service as bad as it was not offered in the form of precautionary measure. Nowadays, IT leadership is more aware of significance of legal expenditures in case of compliance failure and thus looks forward to adapt efficient practices. The equation ‘loss for client equals gain for channel’ will hold zero truth-value if the unsatisfied client terminates the contract with the channel.

Hardware Asset Management: Who is accountable?

Historically, channel managers hold client accountable for managing all hardware related tasks that range from security to maintenance. However, the channel managers fail to reexamine their flawed view. Cyber attacks, system failures, or budget overrun eventually points to bad advice or miss-selling by the channel manager. The channel manager needs to adapt pro-active approach and share the responsibility for efficient and successful hardware asset management. The obvious question would arise in reader’s mind: ‘but why’? Let us delve into more details to ascertain the factors that necessitate channel manager’s active participation.

The onus lies on Channel Managers as well

A channel manager cannot be non-participant and his/her reluctance to contribute may build mistrust between the channel and the client. Though organizational leaders do not view hardware asset management as a key to prune operation cost, the supportive channel managers are always sought to maintain fluidity in business operations. The clients may approach other consultants due to service or product dissatisfaction. There is a high probability that the consultants are resellers or vendors and eventually the channel manager losses the client. It will be prudent for channel managers to share knowledge and expertise with their clients in order to build loyal clientele. Even if the clients do not follow regulatory compliances or security measures, channel manager should make them aware of the needful. Pro-active approach helps the channels to cement channel-client relationship.

The role of consultants in efficient hardware asset management

Along with the client and channel manager, consultant is equal stakeholder in HAM. In a typical business environment, channel managers consider consultants hired by clients as adversaries rather than partners. It will be sagacious on channel managers’ part to let consultants share their expertise and knowledge to ameliorate HAM experience. The collaboration with consultants helps channel managers to know more about client’s requirements and the requirements may range from simple upgrade to complete hardware overhaul. Again, the collaboration will enable the channel managers to forecast the future infrastructural needs as well as gain insights about the vertical. In the long run, the consultants may become valuable ally and save channel mangers from making special efforts to acquire experience.

Hostile approach: Will it be to any good effect?

Channel managers usually express their disinclination in sharing valuable inputs and feedback with the clients, as they believe in withholding the crucial information. The probable outcome of performing practices adverse to the business of the client is finally losing the client. Channel mangers give preference to gaining new clients over building a loyal clientele. However, the volatile markets present fewer opportunities in lead generation and again the channel manager, who has lost the client, forgoes multiple work orders that could have been gained in case of good customer service. Again, the fierce competition among channels may force other channels to adapt variety of lead generation techniques and probable outcome is loss of business.  

Measures to be taken by Channel Managers

Channel managers should acquaint themselves with intricacies in hardware asset management (HAM) arena and discern the relationship between HAM and other business verticals such as operation, finance, and infrastructure. Collaboration with other stakeholders such as client and consultants will help the channel managers to gain insights about infrastructure upgrades and present requirements. It will be a sagacious to hire experts in HAM arena to resolve the foibles in clients’ practices and tools. Last, but not the least, today’s IT arena asks for collaborations among various participants in any process and thus channel mangers can no longer avoid the trend.