Channel players might not be in a strong position

Next year could see a big shake-up for the channel with many players waking up and finding they were not in as strong a position as they thought, warns island VP Sales EMEA Johnny Carpenter.

Carpenter said that while employees will go back into offices to some degree next year, organisations will start to build everything around a remote site infrastructure and working practice. Many were caught unawares by the current pandemic and so will be keen to ensure they are in a position to implement working from home plan as and when needed.

However, the biggest change will concern channel partners as he thinks a lot of them are now going to have to move into a world where they weren’t necessarily well-positioned before.

“Traditionally, partners were trusted by the end customer, particularly as an MSP, as they would sell the customer servers and local software and would manage it.  However, organisations are now understanding their own capabilities and are questioning MSPs on how they can be more agile”, he said.

Customers are now using things like Zoom, Webex and other remote collaboration tools and Financial Directors and the CEOs of organisations are using all these technologies too.

“That is now driving the conversations from the top down and I think the partners will now need to work smarter and have a greater understanding of these new technologies and new ways of delivering value to their customer base. From a partner perspective as well I think many more are turning to subscription and OPEX services to avoid the heavy bumps in the road that CAPEX services have been hit with this year in particular.”

Carpenter said that the key element here is education ensuring that sales and solutions teams can not only position these new services that the customers are asking for but to also ensure that these solutions truly meet the customer requirements.

“If I was to put in a nutshell how our most successful partners have managed to pivot it would be “Train your team, educate your customers and make your services compensation neutral for cloud and on-premises”, he said,