ChannelVision Playbook Volume 7

often that desire for simplicity makes mid-sized companies put their channel partners in a bind by asking for simplicity when simplic- ity is actually a recipe for failure. They want plug-and-play when a one-size-fits-all solution is doomed to failure from the get-go. It’s a trap that I see in action firsthand in so many conversations with custom- ers, particularly about SD-WAN implementations. These customers know they need to upgrade from their outdated, underperforming, barely-holding-it-together WANs, but they are exhausted by the idea of a complex IT project before it even gets underway. That is par- ticularly true with mid-sized cus- tomers, for which every IT project is complex given the legacy equip- ment they rely on and their limited budgets. For once, they want one of these projects to be as simple as pinot and a setting sun, and so many companies seem to be pin- ning their hopes for that simplicity on an SD-WAN implementation. What does that mean for resell- ers? It means RFPs with unrealisti- cally simple project scopes from new customers that are hoping and praying that a new SD-WAN will be a matter of a few clicks and voila! It means off-by-a-mile expectations from existing customers who ask for a proposal for an SD-WAN proj- ect that they can pull out of a box like a new iPhone. These expecta- tions set the channel partner up for failure … but enough of the doom and gloom. Let’s all have a sip of pinot and a spoonful of berries and take a deep breath, because SD- WAN implementations don’t have to fall into the oversimplification trap. In fact, resellers can turn this simplicity temptation into an ad- vantage that helps them deliver a powerful value proposition to cus- tomers and lay the groundwork for a successful implementation. Turning that potential trap into an asset isn’t magic. It’s logic. Be- cause even though customers want simplicity, they know oversimplifi- cation when they see it, and they know that is not a path to success. There will be no shortage of resell- ers who will seek to take advantage of customers’ cravings for simplicity by making sales presentations that make SD-WAN planning and imple- mentation look as easy as pie. Well, guess what? Anyone who has ever made a pie knows it ain’t easy. Pie takes careful planning, and so does SD-WAN. Customers know deep down that SD-WAN can’t be as easy as so many vendors are try- ing to make it out to be. Customers know deep down that a one-size- fits-all approach doesn’t work for a pair of flip-flop sandals let alone a complex SD-WAN project. They need to know the truth, and being the only one who is trying to truly be a partner rather than just making 19 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK