What ’ s more , the pandemic has shrunk budgets for many businesses – meaning it is crucial that IT teams can manage these distributed environments without damaging wider operations . By offering a unified infrastructure , channel partners can provide customers with new levels of operational simplicity so that IT teams can redirect precious resources to more business-critical areas .
The acceleration of cloud migration
Of course , distributed workforces have also been a de facto catalyst for establishing the value and flexibility of the cloud for many businesses . In fact , Aruba research from 2020 found that 83 % of IT decision makers were looking to increase their investments in cloud-based networking over the next 12 months . The appetite for cloud and the opportunity this presents for the channel has never been more apparent – with new data from Canalys revealing that the channel helped fuel a 33 % increase in cloud spend in 2020 .
Clearly , anytime there is a change of direction within IT , there is opportunity for the channel to step in with a new product offering . However , the choice for customers can be overwhelming , particularly if they do not have the skills to truly understand the benefits of the cloud or whether it is more cost-effective to deploy a hybrid cloud model . This is where channel partners have the chance to differentiate themselves by going that one step further to help guide customers and add value .
In order to take advantage of this increased interest in cloud , channel partners must act as trusted advisors to demonstrate how they can maximise its benefits . This
Whereas before you might have expected hardware sales to account for most of your channel business , it ’ s now completely swapped to be a software-first market instead .
means developing a comprehensive cloudbased strategy to ensure they have the best tools and management software available to support customers .
Exploring new subscription models
COVID-19 has also caused customers to rethink their IT consumption models . Again , the cloud has largely triggered this – changing the business models of channel partners significantly . Hardware is often no longer the key revenue driver i . e . whereas before you might have expected hardware sales to account for most of your channel business , it ’ s now completely swapped to be a software-first market instead .
Recent research from Aruba found that customers are becoming more open to exploring flexible models of consumption . Only 8 % of IT decision-makers said they would continue with solely CAPEX investments in light of the pandemic , compared to 55 % who said they would look at SaaS models . With many key services such as deployment and decommissioning included in subscription offerings , their roll-out can afford IT staff more time to carry out the more complex , value-add business tasks . It ’ s vital that channel partners wake up to this heightened demand for flexible subscription models by broadening their own offerings .
As we emerge from the pandemic , the IT channel will be full of new opportunities for partners willing to seize them . The crisis has shown that businesses are willing to invest across their IT infrastructure as Digital Transformation becomes a core component to their future success . Any while customer budgets have tightened , and projects were pushed back , they are seeing the long-term picture .
Today ’ s customers have new needs due to distributed workforces , the demand for agile IT and a renewed interest in cloud . Channel partners who can tap into these trends and offer guidance , services and solutions , will be the ones to succeed within this rapidly changing IT landscape . •
INTELLIGENT TECH CHANNELS Issue 44 55