By Ryan Brock, Vice President, Worldwide SMB Cloud & Channels Practices, AMI Partners
How has the channel changed in 25 years?
The only constant in the channel is change. It mirrors the IT industry, which has been moving through cycles of change every five to seven years over the past 25 years. What hasn’t changed over that time is the importance of the channel in reaching and supporting customers, especially SMBs. Although we have seen a modest contraction in the number of channel partners during the current recession, the channel remains as strong as ever. Yes, cloud services will challenge some partners that remain strictly focused on hardware and systems; however, the fact is that the majority of partners are embracing the cloud and are seeing their overall revenues grow. For example, our most recent research shows that 70 percent of partners that have sold cloud seats to SMBs have seen their customers significantly increase their seat counts within the first six months. And partners are seeing significant opportunities around cloud planning, migration and implementation services.
How will the channel change in the next 25 years?
The basic premise on which the channel’s livelihood depends – adding value in delivering technology solutions to businesses – will not fade away over the next 25 years. To the contrary, I see a focused and stronger channel emerging, with an emphasis on applications, mobility and managed services.
Ryan Brock is vice president of worldwide SMB cloud & channels practices at Access Markets International (AMI) Partners Inc. , a market intelligence firm specializing in IT/Internet/communications solutions. Brock leads the company’s SMB cloud and channels practices, spanning all aspects of the evolving technology footprint including infrastructure, platforms, applications, communications and devices. For nearly two decades, Ryan has worked with IT and communications firms to develop and implement end-customer and channel partner strategies. He combines specialties in market analysis, segmentation and targeting, and marketing communications with hands-on, tactical field experience to provide a perspective that reflects both the opportunity and the client’s business realities.