The conventional channel structure is being revolutionised by technology in an ever-evolving environment that requires channel partners to adapt to ongoing change and add value in new ways.

Laurica Kok, general manager and channel manager at Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline and Sage Group plc, says technology and payment plans are driving the restructuring of rebates and subscription pricing is rapidly becoming a reality for software vendors. Technology and the Internet are playing a big role, bringing in online products that are changing the playing field.

“Technology is enabling do-it-yourself as opposed to services, with the internet as the key element in changing the way that organisations conduct business. Pastel Payroll’s channel partners have been very active in terms of sales but technology is ringing in changes that are leading to the structuring of new incentives for channel parters.

“The adoption of what many consider to be commoditised uses for the internet is seen as a steady evolutionary process and the switch from legacy desktop applications to the cloud is proving to be a gradual adoption rather than a rush to jump on the bandwagon.”

Pastel Payroll has started introducing new functionality and is making use of frictionless updates that enable traditional desktop applications to seamlessly update over the internet with minimal intervention from the end-user of the software.

“Customers no longer need to visit a website to download and install updates manually and install CD versions, the software now does it all for them. The days of CD-based updates and disruptive installation and implementation cycles are over,” says Kok.

“Generally accepted standard online applications – those which many people are comfortable using on a daily basis such as internet banking and online flight reservations systems, news feeds and social media sites are all being complemented by steady streams of new online business applications and services. The younger generation has a strong affinity with online business and payroll solutions, eliminating the traditional support and assistance models. Pastel Payroll has to keep up with the times and offer customers a variety of software solutions.”

“The technology boom has driven structural changes to evolve with the new trends and we have seen major movement towards subscriptions, monthly payment options and the development of a pay-as-you-go environment as longer term budgeting is increasingly implemented. We have had open discussions with channel partners regarding this changing environment as it requires different incentive structures,” said Kok

Traditional channel programs used to involve an upfront payment and an annual licence fee structure.  However, increasing numbers of customers are feeling the economic pinch and looking for monthly payment options with budgeting becoming longer term. “Pay as you go is also becoming a popular option with customers,” concluded Kok.