2017 : A year in review for Embedded IT

03 January 2018

So a year ago I started Embedded in earnest. I had a plan, I had a limited company as a vehicle, I had an anchor client and I was off. I had a bit of cash in the bank (them were the days..). 12 months later, where are we?

Well, it’s been an exhilarating journey so far. The only objective we had was to survive for the first year, which we have clearly done, but beyond the pure financials a lot has happened which has made the business a lot more interesting than my initial expectations.

One of the major things we have achieved is define exactly where we are heading, in terms of the services we are offering and the clients we are looking to serve. Embedded’s whole proposition is to smooth the complexities of relationships between Clients and Channel Partners; and Channel Partners and Vendors, and we have structured these relationships into a simple to understand set of services all of which we have delivered in 2017.

From IT Strategy and Supplier Selection / Procurement for Clients; to Sales and Marketing Support, and Portfolio / Vendor Management, for Channel Partners; to Channel Engagement advice for Vendors; we have been super-busy in 2017 to the extent that we’ve had to take on additional staff to satisfy demand – a nice place to be.

All of these services have been delivered on a project basis, and we have concluded that we need to diversify away from this being our sole revenue stream. Finding, agreeing and delivering these projects is a time-consuming business, and we need new revenue streams to cut us a bit of slack to invest time and cash in the business longer term.

On this basis we have developed two new service lines which we see as our growth engine for 2018. The first of these which we proudly launched in November 2017 is the Embedded Directory, which delivers IT Supplier Selection advice to clients free of charge, and gives our Channel Partners a place to advertise their wares, to a targeted audience, for free. To my knowledge, the model and approach is unique in the channel, and providing we can get some momentum and volume into it I am very excited about the future potential this has.

Our second service offering, which we will be launching in early 2018, is a full service Vendor Management service. Vendor channel programs are in a constant state of flux as the vendors seek to align new solutions and incentives with a rapidly evolving channel base in ever-more efficient ways. From a channel partner perspective, understanding what’s available to sell and what support and incentives are available to help across multiple vendors is a time consuming, complex process. Our Vendor Management service is designed to simplify the engagement with multiple vendors, streamlining the overhead of managing vendors internally, and enabling the channel to optimise their vendor partnerships with the minimal effort.

We have multiple projects with individual partners to increase their returns from vendor engagement and wanted to find a way to offer the service to more partners. We are developing a scalable solution to provide the relevant information and resources from multiple vendors to channel partners with minimal time investment on their side. This project has enormous potential. If you think of the duplication of effort within the Channel community for managing vendor relationships, aggregating and simplifying that could deliver huge efficiency gains for all participants. With the right structure and approach, I can see this becoming very exciting indeed. More announcements mid year!

In short, 2017 was hard work. At a personal level, significantly more fun than previous roles, but probably more emotionally challenging. The big news however is we survived, and managed to invest in some things that have to the potential to make our “expansion” year, 2018, really quite exciting.

At its core, Embedded is about helping the IT Supply Chain navigate its own complexity to everyone’s benefit. Providing we keep this as our focus, I can’t see how we can fail.

Happy New Year from all of us at Embedded.

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