At a time when the IT distribution channel is being challenged on many fronts, a new website catering to Australian IT distributor and reseller organisations aims to empower and advance its members. The Web 2.0 enabled site at ChannelPoint.com.au has been created with the express intent to provide a meeting point and collective voice for underrepresented organisations within the channel. Sales & Marketing Director, Robert Nagy, likens the site to a cross between the professional networking site, LinkedIn.com, and the social news site, Digg.com, though specifically geared towards IT channel organisations.
At present no single platform exists within Australia where the channels can be heard collectively on their own terms, espouse their values as a dynamic and evolving group or have influence at an industry wide level. ChannelPoint.com.au provides its members with a well planned and constructed mechanism to voice specific channels related interests and concerns in an open forum. Built on an extensively customised version of the robust and proven Drupal CMS, the site offers many ways for organisations to communicate, explore, learn and grow as an industry.
Members join as individual representatives of an organisation and their status is manually verified by ChannelPoint.com.au staff. Once their account is ready, authorised members will initially want to add an organisation profile and let others know about their key strengths and value within the channel. Authorised members also have the option to add overviews and announcements about specific channels related topics such as channel programmes, competencies and events. Individuals may also blog about their experiences within the channel.
As a public forum, Nagy is fully aware the majority of organisations will limit their participation to safe areas such as listing corporate profiles and outlining channels programmes. “We’re not looking for organisations to reveal trade secrets” he hastened to add, “nor are we looking at airing dirty laundry” as “it’s not what we’re about and we will moderate heavily where needed” he cautioned.
ChannelPoint.com.au is certainly one out of the box in terms of its goal to bring together disparate players within a commoditised, highly dynamic and evolving industry, however those behind the site believe it’s an idea whose time has come. “All industries go through a maturation process where they eventually realise that more can be gained through win-win measures such as open communication and mutually beneficial collaboration” claimed Nagy.
Only time will tell whether the channel is ready to embrace this next step in it’s evolution. For now, at least, the site provides an excellent platform for organisations to promote their interests and capabilities as well as find prospective channel partners.