One of the more interesting things I've done recently was speak with the executive leadership of one of EMC's valued channel partners. They were going through a strategic planning cycle, and wanted an outside perspective.
I thought that wonderful on several levels.
First, they were investing serious leadership effort in a meaningful and non-trivial strategic planning process. It seems that far too few of our channel partners do this, and -- given all the structural changes occurring in our industry -- it's probably a good time to do so.
Second, they invited me (on behalf of EMC) to lead a business discussion -- not on technology, but on the broader industry, the changing face of IT, new business models and -- hopefully -- what it might mean for them. Although mapping my world to their world was a bit of an stretch for me, I like that sort of exercise.
The title of this blog post came from an industry analyst who described their business model as "in a vise" -- as in under severe and unrelenting pressure from several directions. I found it an apt description, as simply maintaining the status quo means you're planning on getting compressed into a smaller space.
Although we talked about several subjects (and I did what I could to link them together into actionable scenarios), there's one key thought I wanted to share with anyone who's in the VAR / reselling / distribution end of the IT business.