Canalys Forums 2022: Partner program strategy for 2022 and 2023

Canalys Forums 2022: Partner program strategy for 2022 and 2023

Canalys analysts give their views on hot topics for the Canalys Forums 2022 in this series of interviews. There has been a tremendous evolution in partner programs in recent years, and now more than ever, these programs will support and maintain business continuity for partners. But how can these programs help spark growth in 2023 and beyond? Discover and debate new channel strategies and partner program practices with major vendors and leading channel partners at the Canalys Forums 2022 in our Expert Hubs.


Partner programs have been a hot topic, with their importance ratings hitting their highest level in 2022 since Canalys began tracking the channel’s view on partner programs eight years ago. Given the significant changes in the technology industry, partners need to examine their relationships with vendors. Vendors and partners are developing new routes to market, but how will they come into play and spark growth for the year ahead?

We talked to our analyst specialists as part of a Canalys Expert Interview series in the run-up to the Canalys Forums. Here, Sharon Hiu, Senior Canalys Analyst, Channels, answers the questions:

Your research focuses on partner programs. How are these evolving?

The evolution of partner programs is led by the shift toward subscriptions and services, which requires the three pillars underpinning the shift – skills, infrastructure and profitability – to work together. Vendors are eyeing consumption and subscription growth, but these are new territories for many partners. While partners are looking to the cloud to futureproof their customers’ businesses, cloud partner programs are complex or riddled with unintuitive technical jargon, so partners need to climb a steep learning curve or take a more proactive role in engaging these vendors. New structures and processes are not well defined yet, such as cloud marketplaces, subscription-based transactions and channel ecosystem management, which are separate programs yet integrated seamlessly with partner programs. Financial incentives and program mechanisms that drive software growth and renewals also differ from hardware, and these levers are already evolving for the channel. Sustainability is another area partner programs are increasingly addressing as demand for clean energy and computing capability grows.

What will partners want to hear about their partner programs and discuss with vendors at the Channels Forums 2022?

There is still a lot of education needed within the channel on cloud, subscriptions and services, and partners can influence customers with their technical expertise. The Canalys Forums will be a good platform for vendors to hear about the strengths and pain points partners face in their partner programs and how vendors can better support them. The Canalys Forums are also good for one-to-one dialog between vendors and channel partners and those looking to establish ecosystem partnerships with credible partners.

What will the channel most want to hear about from vendors at the Canalys Forums 2022?

The channel’s most pertinent issues today – inflation and global supply chain disruptions – are outside of partner programs. But beyond them, issues such as the lack of talent, consumption and subscription growth, sustainability and new routes to market mean vendor partner programs can support partners in developing new opportunities, relationships and growth.

What one piece of advice do you have for partners or vendors as they consider how to spark growth in 2023?

Partners should accelerate their transition to the cloud, cybersecurity and services, as these will future-proof their business relevance regardless of how the global macro environment develops. For vendors, visualize a clear channel strategy for subscriptions and services so that partners know what to expect.

As an analyst, what are you looking forward to from the hybrid Canalys Forums this year?

The virtual Expert Hubs last year were well received by channel partners and vendors because they gave participants an equal voice on existing challenges and influenced the technology industry’s future. Besides hearing what my colleagues have to say about the technology industry for the year ahead, the Expert Hubs would be one of my favorite segments and, of course, the after-party.

Expert Hub discussions will take place physically and virtually at the Canalys Forums 2022. They are panels for the channel to discuss the channel and to help advise the vendors on what’s real and what’s not. Attendees can watch, comment and ask questions.

Partners and vendors wanting to secure places at the Canalys Forums should register their interest or contact their Canalys account manager now.