Miriam Murphy, Senior Vice President, Avnet Technology Solutions, North region, EMEA, explains how distribution is at the core of new 3rd Platform IT consumption models and how the channel can benefit.
Industry analysts have been getting excited for a while about the third platform and it’s fair to say analyst IDC is predicting billions of dollars of growth in areas such as cloud services and infrastructure, IT security and big data analytics by 2020. But what is involved in getting a slice of that forecast revenue?
A number of traditional resellers, systems integrators (SIs), independent software vendors (ISVs) and service providers have begun to transform their sales and business models to remain relevant and take advantage of opportunities. Sales models will become more complex as channel partners respond to customer demand by focusing on the delivery of applications and services rather than providing disparate technology systems.
Distribution can play a pivotal role in these model changes. With multi-vendor portfolios, and (importantly) the ability to proactively scope out solutions based on an in-depth understanding of market requirements, distributors can add significant value. Indeed, value distributors have been evolving by helping business partners create tailored solutions designed to meet their customers’ needs and building long-term relationships by way of services and recurring revenues.
Today, one of the main challenges for those in the channel is staying ahead of the competition and remaining a credible trusted advisor to end-user organisations. The constant need for increased knowledge of new technologies and consumption models can be a full time and never-ending job. Therefore, an intrinsic part of the value provided by the right distribution partner must be education and enablement. By gaining skills and capabilities business partners can sell more effectively and transform their businesses. High-end courses delivered on demand and onsite by those with expert technical knowledge should be regarded as the “norm” when it comes to distribution deliverables.
More mobile and cloud-based opportunities will be accompanied by massive investments in IT hardware and software for next-generation datacentres. Again, distribution has an important part to play in providing a sounding board and connection to both established IT suppliers and new entrants to the market. It all starts with vendor relationships and intelligent collaboration. Distributors that have done the upfront work to identify the most compelling propositions for the new technology landscape are saving partners’ time and reducing any associated risk. Take, for example IoT (Internet of Things) security, the networking of appliances and other entities is relatively new but working with industry-leading technology supported by services from a distributor such as Avnet, reduces the risk for channel partners when delivering third platform solutions.
Finally, whatever the platform you are standing on, change comes down to finance. Distribution can offer financial experts to help construct the right terms to deliver more complete and profitable solutions to meet customer needs. Be sure to work with a distribution partner that can provide convenient and competitive credit, finance and leasing solutions, including those to help the shift from fixed (capital expense) to variable (operational expense) cost models.
While analysts continue to predict high growth from new IT consumption models, we are seeing a major shift in the support available from distributors that are ahead of the curve and adapting their business model in line with user demand. As resellers, SIs and service providers evolve their businesses to meet the requirements of their customers, they need to know their distribution partner is ready and able to support them in transforming new technology into business solutions.
I’ve had this piece from Avnet in the locker for a couple of weeks and have to say I was initially surprised when I first read it. Generally speaking I find distributors sitting just behind early adopters at best when it comes to thinking ahead. Whilst that may sound very unkind, and clearly not deserved in this instance, it is unusual to see a piece from a distributor so current in terms of what’s lurking over the horizon. As a result we will be following this up with Miriam Murphy and Avnet to see how the Third Platform progresses throughout 2016.