This IDC Market Perspective quantifies the evolution in partner business models and provides a current view of the partner ecosystem by revenue mix (i.e., revenue derived from products, services, and resale). Partners continue to adjust their practices to meet customer demand for comprehensive solutions, and rather than fulfilling a need for a discrete function such as project services or software resale, the ecosystem is extending higher value to the customer by bringing together the resale of third-party offerings with internally created software and services. This trend has blurred the lines between the legacy partner types (e.g., systems integrator and value-added reseller) and brings into question the usefulness of partner segmentation within the vendor's programmatic framework.
"There is a remarkable evenness to the distribution of partners (by revenue source), and the lack of clustering points to the complexity in segmenting the ecosystem. Using activity-based segmentation, or even self-reported partner types, to outline the vendor–partner relationship has become strategically hazardous." –- Brendan Rouse, research analyst, IDC Channels and Alliances