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Firms count the cost of inaccurate channel data

Dec 16, 2015; By Channel Pro

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95 percent of vendors report challenges with channel data accuracy or quality

Many hardware vendors don’t trust the accuracy of the data from their channel partners, according to new research released today.

According to an independent research report commissioned by Channel Data Management (CDM) specialist Zyme, just 25 percent of firms questioned said they were extremely confident in the accuracy of data received from channel partners, whilst 66 percent claimed that their understanding of channel performance is held back by the accuracy of the data delivered by partners.

The report, The UK Channel Data Management Barometer, says in the last 12 months the most common concerns are dealing with duplicate sales opportunities (53 percent), unreported wins (36 percent), overstated deal sizes (36 percent) and delayed order fulfilment (31 percent). In other areas, that require administrative time and resource to resolve, 13 percent cited that they have struggled to identify the product names and descriptions given.

“These businesses are aware that they are dealing with over-payments to partners but equally they also feel that they face a number of barriers when it comes to deploying a CDM solution,” comments Nick Andrews, general manager, EMEA & India at Zyme.

“Concerns include lack of analytics skills and a lack of time, alongside the more usual budget constraints. However, it is also realised that they are hindered by legacy data management processes and procedures. Sales just cannot continue to be missed, and partners cannot continue to be over-paid.”

In parallel, the respondents said they also struggle to deal with disparate data sources (90 percent) and different formats (67 percent), alongside timeliness of getting data from partners (70 percent). In turn, these problems then also lead to challenges with compliance and/or regulation (83 percent), as well as preventing the business from gaining a single, strategic, view across all channels (74 percent). Scalability issues (73 percent) and challenges with creating actionable insights from channel data (72 percent) were also mentioned as hurdles that needed to be overcome.

Zyme says the research shows that it’s time for companies to move away from spreadsheets and data-management systems that have been developed in-house but even more critical to success is an urgent cultural change in what is deemed to be ‘acceptable’.

Says Andrews: “No organisation can justify the expense of running disparate systems that inevitably fail to deliver value back. Inaccurate data is misleading sales opportunities and too much time and resource is focused on rectifying problems around data entry that were totally avoidable in the first place.

“The end result is reduced confidence in channel partners, often unfairly, and compromised channel revenue growth. Ensuring accurate and up to date channel data is critical for financial transparency and companies need to address this urgently before the data load increases further, both in volume and in complexity.”

Zyme commissioned the study, conducted by London research agency Loudhouse, of 100 UK hardware companies in September 2015.