Delving Into Partner Status Requirements: Avoiding Hardships

Written By Bicom Systems Team

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Entering a strong and stable partnership is crucial for anyone entering into the telecommunications industry, be it from the side of the service provider or the partner.

Given the ever-changing landscape that the industry is presented with from the continued innovation and experimentation attempts that come from trying to incorporate new technologies into the fold, it can be difficult trying to find an SP that can cater to the needs of all your customers while ensuring a fair deal for yourself as well.

Service providers that grasp the reins of new innovations quickly are sure to have the advantage in negotiations and are sure to use their position to exert pressure on their potential partners to get them to agree to a deal that does not benefit your side as much as it does their own.

That said, not all service providers are out to get you, but it can be difficult trying to maneuver around to a good one in such a saturated market without knowing what to look for and what to avoid.

Let us take a look at the individual aspects of service providers and partners alike that can make or break partnerships and how you can use those to reach mutual benefit.

Service Provider Red Flags

The Initial Buy-in Seems Nice, But…

The most common strategy that service providers may use to ensure a contract with the partner is to frontload every benefit that would come by signing with them, the forefront of any marketing strategy.

They shape this into an enticing package that seems too good to be true, and all of these benefits are real, but the less ideal details are kept obscured through confusing language or are tucked away in the back with as little attention thrown to them as possible, all to ensure a deal that primarily benefits the service provider.

This is problematic as, by the time the honeymoon period is over, usually after the first year or so, you might be too far in to quit now, dependent on their service with costs for swapping being too high to feasibly perform.

This is why transparency is greatly valued in business relationships, but even when things seem transparent, one should always read the fine print and do their research into what they are getting themselves into before signing on with a service provider.

At Bicom Systems, we know that a happy partner is the best kind of partner to have and that mutual growth is the healthiest basis for a business relationship which is why we will always strive for transparency and honesty whenever we are able to do so.

Unreasonably High Partnership Status Upkeep Requirements

An aspect unique to business partnerships between you and the service provider are the requirements for maintaining a specific status and the penalties that come should these requirements end up unfulfilled by the agreed upon date.

The aforementioned honeymoon period precedes it as a form of good will, but after it finishes, the set margins that the partner needs to meet to maintain their existing partner status are set.

Service providers often set these up in different tiers, often as a means of stirring confusion or to simply offer different benefits based on their most loyal and lucrative partnerships.

However, these need to be studied before any ironclad deal is made and the penalties that come along with them should the goals of a specific tier end up unmet.

Oftentimes, partners get stuck having to meet unreasonable or overly strenuous goals and are threatened with loss of core functions like having access to first grade support or even some essential product features in general.

Not every service provider practices this, but be careful not to get caught up in those that do, or you may find yourself without the ability to serve the needs of your end customer due to a slow period that may have placed you just short of fulfilling a requirement on a specific year.

Here at Bicom Systems, we also utilize partnership targets for specific tiers, but our requirements are made to be as reasonable as possible so that we may see benefit from the partnership and so you do not feel like making these targets is too much of a hindrance on your overall resources.

It also goes without saying that we will never take away any essential product features in case of being unable to meet specific goals.

Locking Core Features Behind More Expensive Partner Tiers

This brings us to the next problem, gating core operational requirements behind higher partner tiers.

The practice of a number of unfavorable options for service providers is to coerce future partners into opting into a higher partner tier simply because it offers them access to commodities that are often seen as integral to successful business operation, be it support or feature access within the product.

This often leads to other problems, the most notable being high budget strains and the like. It is important to always be aware of which features you require to run your operation and leveraging that fact on whether the service provider that you are in talks with can offer these features at a base level or not.

Every product on the Bicom platform will always offer essential features regardless of your partnership status, allowing your operations to function unhindered at any point.

Initial Buy-in Costs Are Too High

A direct cause of feature-gating behind higher tiers is that the buy-in costs for the package that you might want in a service provider could be a lot greater than you would have accounted for, leading to an inflated upfront cost and an inflexible budget.

As stated earlier, you do not have to worry about feature-gating as all essential tools and features are available to you right out the gate and at any tier as we believe that even the most affordable version of our product should reflect its best parts right out the gate rather than partners only getting the core experience through added costs.

Too Many Subscriptions And Hidden Costs

Different editions and partner tiers are only the tip of the iceberg though as some service providers can rack up other, hidden costs to your ever-growing bill that may have avoided mention during initial negotiations.

These are usually based around subscriptions, be it for specific functionalities like having access to support or a feature suite that would otherwise be unavailable, to only being able to lease the server space and the hardware required rather than owning it.

This practice is becoming more prevalent as it generates more long-term revenue for the service provider with minimal investment at the cost of the partner’s capital.

With Bicom Systems, you still have the option of hosting your servers on our own hardware, but there is also the option of using your own hardware, regardless of manufacturer, resulting in less overhead costs overall and freeing up your budget for other endeavors and enabling future growth.

Forced Brand Promotion

The relevance of this final issue boils down to the amount of self promotion that you want to do as a partner as some service providers make it mandatory that their brand must be promoted with no white or private label options up for consideration.

This can often be a dealbreaker for many, but for those that put little value in a name, this hindrance is practically nonexistent.

That said, simply having the option opens up doors that would otherwise be closed, and should you decide on wanting to branch out and consider a brand of your own and are under an SP that insists on promoting their own brand, your only other option is to swap which is easier said than done.

When partnering with Bicom Systems, on the other hand, you get all three options right off the bat with procedures in place should you want to swap product branding options.

Plan For The Long Term

While a deal may seem enticing at first glance, that usually ends up being a short-term benefit that masks the long-term detriments behind the facade.

Always have a plan, especially when choosing your ideal service provider.

Seek one that looks like a promising investment for long-term co-operation and one that offers flexible options that are not too strenuous on your operation.

A partner that will listen to your needs and try to accommodate their offer to suit these needs to the best of their ability, within reason.

Bicom Systems prides itself on its partner-centric approach to business and it is a practice that has served us well over the years, allowing partners the flexibility they need to thrive and to assure mutual growth between service provider and partner.

If you are interested in what we have to offer, feel free to contact us, or if you are curious about what the Bicom platform can offer you, take a look at some of our demos.