CompTIA has released its major channel trends for 2017 in their latest outlook report. Although the overall outlook is positive there are some market changes which the Chanel would do well to keep an eye on.
New Faces in the Channel Test Traditional Go-to-Market Approaches
No longer dominated by resellers of products, much of today’s channel is shifting to a services focus and specializing across vertical industries and/or solutions niches. In the year ahead, more channel firms will be developing their own intellectual property too, whether that is a piece of custom code or a business process they replicate across customers. And the players will keep changing: digital agencies, marketing firms, accountants and other non-traditional partners are selling or recommending IT solutions, a development that has upended the traditional competitive landscape. The SaaS ecosystem alone is reinventing what it means to be “in the channel,” with a new take on vendor relationships, selling strategies and compensation demands.
An Aging Channel Community Hastens Need to Find New Blood
With nonstop news stories about the rise of the Millennials, you would think that the channel, like other industries, would be teeming with young blood and next-generation entrepreneurs. It is not – at least not yet. One look around a channel conference is all the proof you need of that. But with an estimated 40% of the channel universe expected to retire over the next 10 years, the industry needs to look at ways to shepherd younger people in to fill the void. Consolidation and a smaller channel may be inevitabilities in the “as-a-service” world, but that need not discourage new entrants. In fact, many of today’s ”born in the cloud” channel firms have been launched by members of younger generations. It is incumbent upon the aging veterans to help ensure that continues.
Opportunity Spikes in Cloud Management Arena
Despite all the talk of consolidation, the number of vendor-based cloud companies is proliferating today. Telecom providers, thousands of SaaS ISVs, and public cloud behemoths such as Amazon Web Services, among others, count among the ranks. For the channel, this voluminous market is expanding opportunity for vendor management. While seemingly obvious, a vendor manager acts as liaison between end customers and cloud-based vendors/service providers. The indirect channel is accustomed to this role, but today the task holds new meaning as customers navigate potential travails of the cloud world.
Ed Says… For anyone operating in the Channel it is essential to be looking at the horizon to ensure you remain relevant to your customers. With much of the market looking to retire over the next decade it’s now time to decide if you want to be one of the remaining winners or to get out whilst the going is good. Check out our Channel Leaders conference this April at http://commsbusiness.co.uk/events/event/channel-leaders-conference-2017/