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Zyme: Nick Andrews

by Stuart Wilson, Thursday 18 February 2016

Nick Andrews, general manager EMEA & India at Zyme, explains the strategic importance of improving channel data management (CDM).

Zyme: improving channel data management (CDM)

"Consumer technology companies annually hand over billions of dollars of goods and services to global distributors and retailers. Using these channels is essential to their business models, but the sales and inventory data that flows through these channels has historically been difficult to manage. As partner networks become even more integral to the growth and profitability of these companies, the pressures to reduce costs and drive efficiencies in this area increases.

One innovative industry player addressing exactly this is B&O PLAY who recently signed an agreement to deploy Zyme’s cloud-based CDM solution in response to limited visibility on the activities and performance of its distribution and retail channel. Presenting with Zyme at the DISTREE EMEA event later this month, B&O PLAY will share its new approach to working with its distributors. Using Zyme’s CDM platform B&O PLAY has been able to positively impact the way in which its distributors send in monthly sell-through and inventory reports, allowing the company to have access to a consolidated overview of data, for analysis, so channel management decisions can be made in real time whilst channel effectiveness overall can be more clearly assessed.

By engaging with Zyme, B&O PLAY will have access to one global dashboard which becomes the foundation for creating this much needed channel visibility. In addition, it will enable the company to focus its sales team on driving sales opportunities instead of spending time gathering and analysing inconsistent data.

Critical intelligence

Given this significant and positive impact that channel data management (CDM) can have for a business it’s perhaps a surprise that it is still a relatively new concept on European shores. CDM is essentially the indirect channel’s equivalent of customer relationship management (CRM), and facilitates the flow of critical intelligence between manufacturers and their channel partners -enabling both parties to ultimately benefit from focusing efforts in the right areas, as dictated by statistics rather than guesswork. There are also benefits for channel partners adopting this technology as providing regular and accurate sales information, via CDM technology, to manufacturers, ensures that the payments they are due for market promotions, incentives, and rebates are accelerated as the data provided is instantly more accurate and less likely to be scrutinised and questioned.

In order to test the level of awareness around CDM in the UK, Zyme completed a strategic piece of market research in late 2015 which showed that UK hardware companies will in fact be taking a closer look at their routes to market in 2016 – with 67% of respondents stating that they would like to understand more about their channel partners, and channel marketing expenditure. Interestingly, the majority of those interviewed also felt that effective channel data management would ultimately give them a greater sense of control over their business (68%) - so perhaps CDM is approaching its tipping point.

Data accuracy

The report, entitled ’The UK Channel Data Management Barometer’, suggested that more than half (55%) of UK hardware companies see the proportion of sales coming through the channel increasing over the next two years and increased collaboration with channel partners is deemed to be the most sensible way to make significant leaps forward in this area. However, in order to ensure success here, there are a few issues that need to be quickly addressed.

Just 25% of respondents cited that they were extremely confident in the accuracy of data received from channel partners, and a number of critical operational issues have also been identified by UK hardware companies as a result of the challenges of ensuring channel data accuracy. In the last 12 months common concerns realised include dealing with duplicate sales opportunities (53%), unreported wins (36%), overstated deal sizes (36%) and delayed order fulfilment (31%).

In parallel, the respondents cited that they also struggle with dealing with disparate data sources (90%) and different formats (67%), alongside timeliness of getting data from partners (70%). These problems then also lead to challenges with compliance and/or regulation (83%), as well as preventing the business from gaining a single, strategic, view across all channels (74%). Scalability issues (73%) and challenges with creating actionable insights from channel data (72%) were also mentioned as hurdles that needed to be overcome.

Zyme believes that it is time for companies to move away from spreadsheets and data-management systems that have been developed in-house and instead fully embrace this new way of thinking. No organisation can justify the expense of running disparate systems that inevitably fail to deliver value back. Inaccurate data is misleading sales opportunities and too much time and resource is focused on rectifying problems around data entry that were totally avoidable in the first place. Ensuring accurate and up to date channel data is critical for financial transparency and companies need to address this urgently before the data load increases further, both in volume and in complexity. Essentially, there needs to be a step-change on both sides of the channel relationship – don’t just enter and send the data; ask timely questions of it.

Join us at DISTREE EMEA and on February 25th at 10am learn more about how channel data management (CDM) can help your business gain control of its channel data."

www.zyme.com

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