It is not controversial to view the French IT market is an entire geographical region in its own right. The largest land mass in the European Union at 551,500 square kilometres and a population of close to 67 million people, France is a market that can yield the highest returns if a channel player can get its proposition right.
Yet servicing such an imposing land mass is certainly not easy, and, considering the fact that two thirds of the country is made up of mountains and hills, France poses a myriad of logistical and geographical challenges.
Which is why French VAR's need to learn to work together, according to CEO of Agilitas Shaun Lynn, who shared his insights on the French market as part of Channelnomics Europe's European Elite project, sponsored by Agilitas.
Lynn said that in order to provide customers with the best possible service and reduce response times to the same levels as other European economic powerhouses like the UK and Germany, VARs must explore embracing a partnership model.
"One of the things that is very interesting which people sort of take for granted is that you can have a four hour or two hour fix [in the UK]. You can't actually get that response [in parts of France]; it is very difficult. You need to bring something that is disruptive and different - certainly collaboration - which I think is where we have been able to grow our business there by being more collaborative and partner-centric," said Lynn.
The Agilitas CEO said that, while the UK follows a "channel-only" model, French VARs take a more cautious approach, and are concerned that channel collaboration will result in losing business to competitors.
"[France] doesn't have the true channel-only providers; it is more companies that will partner [or] compete depending on what the end solution needs to be," he said.
"It is more difficult to get those messages across because they can be very risk-averse, so one of their first concerns will be ‘will you compete with me, or will you work with one of my competitors and steal one of our large customers in a years' time'?"