Channel Outlook for 2018 and Beyond

Welcome to the second installment of our Partner Program blog series! Last week, we examined some of the key channel trends so far this year. But what about the future?

Clouds GrowingThis week, we take a look at some key predictions for partner programs in 2018 and beyond, and discuss how to prepare for changes, and enhancements.

The Cloud Keeps Growing … and Growing

We all know it – the cloud has grown exponentially in importance during the last several years. And there are no signs that this trend will slow down. In fact, IDC predicts that by 2018 the cloud will be distributed with 60% of IT housed off-premise and 85% by multi-cloud. That means housing onsite will be on its way out, and adoption of even hybrid solutions may decrease. Going further into the future, the cloud is likely to become the most trusted and secured solution available by 2020.

So how does this apply to you, our channel friends, out in the field? Well, IDC says there will be a total “reboot of the channel community,” as a result of this transition as cloud providers look to keep pace with demand. According to IDC, by 2018 savvy IT distributors will see a change in their service mix where at least a third of their business that traditionally came from hardware sales will now come from cloud service sales and brokering.  The time to prepare for this transition is now.

Rise of the Machines

Let’s continue with some of the top analyst predictions, focusing on some information from Gartner. As you plan for next year, 2019 and 2020 (which you should be), it is important to take into consideration how digitized our planet becomes year after year. Remember 2009, when Blackberries were all the rage? Or 2013, when many were scratching their heads about the Internet of Things (IoT)? If you’ve been in this business for a while, you know it’s time to buckle up because the speed of change is increasing.

So back to our friends at Gartner. By 2018, they predict that 20% of all business content will be authored by machines, six BILLION connected things will be requesting support and “customer digital assistants” will recognize people by face and voice across channels and partners.

Big Data Gets Bigger

Big Data is one of those terms that has gone from a developing and abstract idea to a cornerstone of IT growth in what seems like the blink of an eye. And that is because, as we stated above, somuch data, along with the cloud, is changing way we do business. So, channel partners – be prepared!  It may not be enough to simply be aware of the trend, you have to know how to help your customers find the network, cloud and IT services they need to help them fully realize their “big data” goals.

Anand Venugopal, who is Head of Product, StreamAnalytix, at Impetus Technologies, sees streaming analytics becoming a “default enterprise capability” in 2018. This will provide a constant flow of real-time analytics that will allow organizations to be laser-focused on the needs of their clients, the trends in their industry, internal changes that should be made, and much more. Channel partners who are aware of this can help their customers procure the right network, cloud storage and computing required to make this important use of data a reality.

Advancing Toward Success

It is imperative that channel partners are forward-thinking and a step ahead of customer needs. What makes this more difficult is it must be done while also being sensitive to current needs. This blog is only the tip of the iceberg. You have to read up, research and be ready.  By becoming aware of these important trends you’ll position yourself as the trusted-advisor that your customers have always relied upon, even in the face of rapid changes with technology

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