Last week it was interesting to hear Forrester’s view on how the IT Industry will evolve over the next five years. As part of a vendor briefing, the industry analysts gave a view on the change in Cloud adoption, buying characteristics and the role of distribution.
We had heard previously how Cloud vendor choice has moved from being a departmental, to a strategic decision, as the enterprise looks for economies of scale. We have seen the ‘company standard’ being applied to PCs, servers and office applications, amongst others, in the past. The cost of support, skills training and speed of deployment all play a part in an organisation agreeing a company approved, cloud service.
We are being told that IT buyers’ characteristics have changed. The way they research and source requirements is no longer based around an RFP. This is partly due to millennials moving into more senior company procurement positions. There is far greater focus on using the internet as a means of researching possible solutions and suppliers, and this is often resulting in a shorter lead time between a project becoming visible and being required. The pandemic has accelerated this, as the traditional face-to-face discussion over a coffee about other projects in the pipeline, has been removed. The challenge for the channel is how do you get engaged before the decision has already been made?
As discussed on a recent webinar from Zurich Insurance, enterprises are now creating their own supplier ecosystems as they look to make selection processes more solution and partnership driven, and less confrontational. Being part of the enterprise customers’ ecosystem becomes even more important.
Other research highlighted the change in the types of new channel businesses coming into the IT industry. With more solutions running as a service there is change in the way enterprises are contracting with the channel and how revenues flow. This is a challenge for some traditional partners as it often requires a cultural change – if the solution is an always on service then the company needs to be an always on company. Changing cultures, whilst the transactional revenue moves to a stream, needs careful management, at both a company and the individual level.
Forrester suggested channel partners fell into Transactional, Non-Transactional and Retention categories. The research indicated that 80% of new entrants into the industry over the next 5 years will be joining as non-transacting partners. This changes the competitive landscape where transacting partners need to consider building relationships with these NextGen partners, to ensure their platform offers the solutions and value their customers are looking for.
It will no longer be just about how good a partner’s skills, services or products are, although these will continue to be important. It will also be about the relationships with other solution providers that they can bring to their customers.
The Tech Data approach has been to help our partners build these relationships through bringing together the wide range of existing and new partners within our community. To support the creation of new offerings and value propositions, within either industry verticals or technology stacks, such as the Red Hat ecosystem.
We also continue to run a wide range of Tech Data programmes. These include Practice Builder, our Solutions Workshops, the Tech Data Academy and a fantastic sourcing tool called InTouch, which all our partners can take advantage of. Please visit uk.techdata.com/InTouchWebex/Register
There is much taking place within our Ecosystem Programme as we plan events and campaigns for the New Year. For more information and to present at one of our events please get in touch.