2016 IT Channel Partner Trends: Consolidation, Hardware and Cloud Computing
As with the years before it, 2015 brought a great deal of change in the way that Peak 10 works with our channel partners to develop and deliver tailored cloud computing solutions, data center and network services, and managed services. The last year showed us a lot about where the channel is going and how we must work together with our partners to navigate the changes being driven by technology advancements and adoption.
When it comes to the channel, these three industry-changing themes that emerged over the past year will shape the IT partner channel throughout 2016.
- Increased Consolidation. Looking back, there was considerable consolidation, even within Peak 10’s own channel partner network. While mergers and acquisitions typically conjure up uneasy feelings, we see them as positives in the channel partner network. The broader foundation resulting from this consolidation is going to drive competition and, in turn, innovation. At the same time that businesses are struggling with the complexity of implementing constantly evolving technology advancements, many of the recent consolidations have created value-added resellers (VARs) with the breadth and depth of products, services and solutions to provide valuable assistance to our customers.
- Hardware Sales Are Here to Stay. For some time now, it’s been suggested that channel partners should avoid a focus on IT hardware sales because it is a low-margin, risky business. The misconception that everything is shifting to cloud computing and hardware sales are dead is finally being put to rest. More and more, channel partners are seeing that companies looking to improve productivity, flexibility and efficiency – while keeping down costs – are leveraging a hybrid IT environment. A recent State of the Channel study by CompTIA reported that hardware remains a key part of operations among channel partners. Among the respondents, 55 percent identified hardware as very important to today’s channel; 37 percent described it as somewhat important. Even with innovation in services, customers still need hardware.
- A True Cloud Strategy. Toward the end of 2015 and into 2016, channel partners increasingly began making the necessary investments and putting greater focus on developing true cloud practices. As cloud adoption has grown, so has the importance of putting strategy and structure in place to drive it and meeting customer needs. To ensure that VARs maintain the critical position of “trusted advisor” in the eyes of their customers, it is important that they don’t simply offer cloud computing VARs need to truly integrate cloud options into all of their offerings and bring customers complete, holistic technology solutions.
SearchITchannel.com, “CompTIA: IT services companies make marketing a ‘front-and-center’ concern,” October 7, 2015.