In this series on Channel Sales for DaaS, I’ve written about managing complexity with Channels, modeling sales with Channel, and I’ll conclude in this blog by looking at what customizations channels ask for with DaaS. Customization should be about bringing differentiating value to the channel relationship with customers, not about offering every possible option – I rarely see that work well. At root, it’s about how a DaaS provider (if they sell direct) avoids ‘Channel conflict’ by avoiding precisely duplicated DaaS products in joint markets, competing for the same customer base.

Typically, channels may want unique hardware which provides them with differentiation, they may want to be the sole services provider after sales, or there could be software-defined capabilities which are channel-specific. You can read in my earlier blogs, I’ve looked at standardizing and simplifying options to avoid complexity. But there’s more to be solved.

How do you customize and standardize at the same time?

Customization with DaaS usually focuses only on two elements: services and software. Unique hardware is unusual. It’s because hardware that is highly-customized for a specific channel (or client) generally needs unique, and expensive, capabilities to maintain. One of the promises of DaaS is attractive cost and revenue financial models built around interchangeable and simply upgradable hardware. DaaS hardware uniquely customized for a single channel or client would need to command a very high price to cover the costs of unique maintenance, repair, overhaul, and lack of recoverability. There’s a reason why that doesn’t work well.

The most common path to DaaS customized for a channel is through the definition of services exclusive to the channel. A common scenario begins with a channel being a services provider. The channel can ask, for sales they originate, to be the sole services provider after DaaS products are in the hands of the end-customer. Services providers have established client bases, sales models, markets, and have a high interest to expand their offering which can drive adjacent sales, so they’re not interested in selling DaaS which introduces a competitor to perform services. DaaS providers manage this by still having standard DaaS packages, but they could configure their delivery platform, for instance, to lock a customer to a particular provider. The DaaS model is the same, the tee-shirts are the same sizes, but they now have different ‘colors’, customized providers without customized options.

Another common way to channel-customize DaaS is on the software side. DaaS packages are constructed and managed the same way, but key pieces of software are linked to exclusive channel-specific capabilities. Think about software defined services for security, or performance optimization that are only turned on for one channel. Or think about software defined experiences like content access, or a specialized customization that is linked to a brand. Again, we see the DaaS delivery platform having standard packages, software entitlements or feature unlock only a particular channel.

Green and Go

Remember our “Green and Go” channel sales story (our fictional company for these articles): they sell solar power ‘as a service’ including an array of devices, software and services some of which they manufacture, some of which they source. They have defined a set of ‘tee-shirt’ sized offerings.

                                                     Green and Go logo

<<< Start >>>

Go Green option

Smart Thermostat, 10kWh electricity from renewable sources, home optimizing software. 

<<< End >>>

<<< Start >>>

Go Greener option

Green, plus 5kW Solar Array primary, grid cost-optimizing software. 

<<< End >>>

<<< Start >>>

Go Greenest option

Greener, plus 5kW Solar Array, 13.5kWh Battery, power-fail home automation, 

<<< End >>>

<<< Start >>>

Go Green Nirvana option

Greenest, plus Optimized EV Car Charging on the road connected to reverse-Grid feed. 

<<< End >>>

Green and Go authorized

Green and Go sells Greenest through a national Solar Power retailer. Green and Go supplies the hardware and software for offerings. The channel wants the offering to ensure that they are the exclusive provider of installation, maintenance, and other services when they sell. For all sales, Green and Go pays the retailer a commission on sales. The provider uses the DaaS platform to lock sales originated with the retailer to a single services provider, and pays them to perform installation and maintenance. The end-user pays Green and Go a monthly fee.

                                                     Green and Go Authorized logo

Green and Go sustainable

Green and Go sells Go Green Nirvana with homebuilders and key EV Automobile manufacturers. Green and Go supplies the hardware, services and software for the offering which includes platform integration for EV cross-charging accounting with the customer utility for “free EV”. A key automobile manufacturer and homebuilder wants a unique lifestyle experience for their customers. They want a special integration of the EV accounting to a “Frequent Flyer” type system called “Frequent Green”, which creates and manages Personal Carbon Credits. The platform enables the software integration for select channels only, there is no specific package customization necessary.

                                                     Green and Go Sustainable logo

Customize in order to maximize

The final DaaS channel takeaway here is that when you think about Channel sales, consider what makes DaaS unique for the channel and their customer, avoids conflict, and creates specific channel value.

  • Avoid hardware customization, which is likely to create large cost overhead.
  • Consider services already packaged, and consider creating unique value by being linked exclusively to the channel.

Consider software capabilities already offered, but creating unique value by unlocking features exclusively through channel sales.

Device-as-a-Service for Channels works best when carefully considering:

  • How to keep it simple with appropriately ‘sized’ options to the market.
  • The accountability for assets, platform, and customer relationship to design the sell motion.
  • What approaches can be taken to create unique channel values, avoiding channel sales issues.

Joseph Francis

Managing Director – Digital Supply Chain Transformation

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