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Channel Data Management – the next big thing?

May 29, 2015; By Christine Horton, Channel Pro

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Opinion: With only 10 percent of vendors using CDM, is the channel missing a trick?

This week I had the opportunity to find out more about Channel Data Management (CDM), a system that promises much in terms of financial and time savings for IT vendors, but has yet to really register on the radar of many firms.

CDM is essentially an outsourced service that takes crucial sales data from VARs, cleans it up, analyses it and presents it to the vendor for them to gain a more accurate view of what’s going on in their channel – which in turn enables them to make better strategic decisions.

It’s been drummed into us how important it is for companies to get a handle on their internal data, so doesn’t it makes sense for them to extend that out to their sales channel?

US-based Zyme has around 70 percent of the current CDM market, and has clients that include Motorola and Xirrus. Its EMEA director Danny Rowark argues that anybody who has tried to cleanse their own channel data knows it’s an IT function fraught with problems.

On the flip side of the coin, he also says technology like Zyme’s SaaS platform can help vendors grow their sales revenue, overcome SCC reporting regulations and help them make real-time decisions based on better quality data. (The knock-on effect is that channel partners are more likely to get paid on time, too.)

However, an estimated 90 percent of vendors still handle the process manually – despite sorting through spreadsheets often being a lengthy process that’s prone to human error.

So after my learning a little bit about it, it seems companies like Zyme have a job on their hands to get the message out to the channel; there’s no Hype Cycle or Magic Quadrant yet for CDM. But with so much emphasis today on data analytics, it can only be a matter of time.