Trends Report

Forrester's Partner-Type Taxonomy: Lingua Franca For A New Era

Simplifying The Partner Dance Card So Everybody Is On The Same Page

April 22nd, 2009
With contributors:
R "Ray" Wang , Tim Harmon , Stefan Ried, Ph.D.


Compared with other industries, outsiders perceive information technology (IT) to be relatively young — influenced in its youthfulness more by technology than business trends and driven by technology experts with only occasional business-savvy. The partnerships that IT vendors develop and communicate to the market also reflect this bias for technology considerations versus business principles. The partnership monikers reflect inconsistent usage and even abuse of terminology, so buyers often find themselves confused by the morass of definitions. As the industry evolves toward maturity, the IT ecosystem of supply chain and channel partners will become less dynamic. Subsequently, vendor strategy professionals who manage partner programs should seek the opportunity to push for an industry-standard taxonomy when communicating partnerships and partner portfolios to buyers and other vendors. Forrester has developed such partnership taxonomy and recommends that vendors have more sympathy for their audience by simplifying the plethora of partner titles currently being used.

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R "Ray" Wang
Tim Harmon
and Stefan Ried, Ph.D.