Unpredictability has been a theme for the past couple of years and, despite the IT channel faring well overall, there are questions over whether this growth trend can be sustained after the initial wave, fuelled by the rapid scaling of remote working and learning practices.
Yet, we have reasons to expect that in 2022, businesses will be cautiously optimistic, enough to resume wider digital transformation projects that had been put on hold due to the volatility of the business environment.
The IT channel has changed, both by design and by necessity – entering different markets and looking at new business models, with the traditional sales model and linear supply chain no longer addressing the needs and opportunity of the market.
This evolution ensures the continued industry relevance and competitive differentiation of the IT channel.
Let’s look at three areas of clear opportunity for the IT channel:
1. Converting transactional relationships into strategic partnerships
As technology-as-a-service gathers momentum as the preferred IT consumption model in a time when conserving budget is of the essence and agility a must, the IT channel has an opportunity to play a vital role in selecting, architecting, managing and maintaining customers infrastructure, complemented by professional services.
This evolving role means channel partners can develop long-term, strategic relationships with their customers.
2. A new approach to cyber security for the hybrid working era
As if cyber security were not a hot topic enough pre-pandemic, hybrid and extended networks have made it even more of a priority. The C-suite is watching, and data breaches are multiplying with the exposure created by the hastily extended networks. Security, infrastructure and communications demand to be approached holistically in an environment where so much sensitive data is shared.
The channel has an opportunity to model this new approach to cyber security, to prevent attackers from exploiting the security vulnerabilities of our networks.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) has been hailed by Gartner as the way forward as the framework for integrated solutions for the hybrid network. In 2022 it is likely to turn from theory into reality, bringing together networking and security, delivered and managed through the cloud.
3. SaaS based selling for boosting vendor expansion
Consider the implications of SaaS for vendors: geo-scaling, from one country to many could be by-passed, if only you didn’t have to invest in the necessary infrastructure and resources to cover the extended area. This challenge can be overcome through a collaboration with a channel partner with the necessary infrastructure and resources as well as expertise to provide expertly managed services across the countries of choice.
Channel partners with a ready framework can step in to enable a SaaS based sales motion for vendors, saving vendors a considerable early investment. This gives vendors the time to get established and build capital before investing in costly infrastructure.
Focus on quality of service and customer value is of the essence!