I noticed the press release about Computacenter assuming the role of vendor management for BP ( http://www.realwire.com/release_detail.asp?ReleaseID=14672) just before Christmas, but its impact eluded me at the time (too busy shopping for presents). But I was interviewing and researching Computacenter specifically this month for another reason and now I’ve spent more time to understand the true significance of the announcement. BP has commissioned Computacenter, in partnership with CompuCom Systems, who will be the N American partner, to coordinate its global hardware and software product purchasing. BP expect to get, more insight into spending and therefore better corporate discounts; improved processes; and a “(reduction in) our IT supplier base by 540 vendors”, to quote the press release citation.

My colleague Tim Harmon and I have been talking about this for a while now. We've been showing this slide to vendors and partners alike about how the business of being a channel partner is changing. Clearly, this announcement is a stark example of a channel partner taking control – this is not a global distribution agreement, we are talking about the full procurement process from, I’ll assume, vendor evaluation, purchasing governance and transaction management. Although the parties did not talk about it, I am sure that an innovative company like Computacenter will quickly expand its service to BP to include Spend Analysis and Supplier Scorecards.


Congratulations to both partner organizations. Computacenter, in the UK especially, leads many engagements with its software asset management consulting practice which certainly leads to the type of conversation that prompts the BP type of project. And CompuCom have a concept of Integrated IT Management which has the same potential.

The thing I like the most is that this is happening at an enterprise account, not an SMB. Most IT vendors expect to sell directly to enterprises (I'm sure that BP is on every vendor target list for direct sales) and are happy if their partners “own” the rest: midmarket firms and small, medium businesses. Perhaps this channel segmentation will not be as easy as the vendors think it should be.

 Any comments from your side? As always, I look forward to hearing from you. 

Always keeping you informed!