IDC believes that companies that leverage channels partners should begin to integrate channel management into broader corporate infrastructure applications that include the supply chain and PLM applications. Integrating these systems will provide two key benefits: Sales channel management will have the ability to stay close to the customer and the brand owner’s visibility will be increased throughout the pipeline.

Information systems currently in place to manage direct sales teams and customers focus on discrete portions of the process, rather than the entire flow. This paper explains why and how software must support an integrated front-to-back view of manufacturing stages and product channels, and addresses the need for bi-directional integration of sales channel systems and manufacturing supply chain channels.