What do cloud, mobility, UC&C, IP and cable have in common? The way I see it, none is a product.
- Cloud is not a product, it's a delivery model.
- Mobility is not a product, it's a state of being.
- UC&C is not a product, it's a strategy.
- IP is not a product, it's a protocol.
- Cable is not a product, it's a transmission medium.
So, none is a product. Instead, all are solutions. And, few would argue that they all are hot markets for channel partners. That's why they also all are focal areas for the Channel Partners' Outlook 2013 issue.
It's not coincidental that these emerging opportunities for the channel are not point products but ways of solving business problems. All are enabled by or enablers of products or technologies that when integrated and deployed create business value.
Creating business value from IT and telecom technology is central to success for the channel in 2013 and beyond. It is an imperative that Channel Partners will be returning to again and again in print, online and at our trade show. It will be an underlying theme of the spring 2013 Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Feb. 27-March 1 in Las Vegas.
It also is the title of a new blog written by VIRGO CEO John Siefert and other thought leaders. In it they suggest tangible ways for channel partners to discover, communicate, deliver and prove business value for technologies or solution sets.
Channel Partners Advisory Board Member Pam Avila, founder of Sierra Summit Group and a channel expert on discussUC.com, explained this well in her blog about when a customer needs UC. She wrote: "You’ll only know if a UC solution is appropriate when you uncover issues or problems that can best be resolved with a solution that integrates voice, data, video and/or mobility in some form or another."
It's the same truth underlying cloud expert Michael Power's assertion that there is no cloud. Power, senior strategist for the Cloud Technology Institute, reminds us that all the technologies that make up cloud — virtualization, hosting, data center, storage, network, etc. — have been around for years. "It's the same technology that's been taking care of [businesses] — we're just providing it differently" with elasticity and commodity-like pricing and attributes, he said, noting this allows them to speed IT-enablement of business outcomes.
Partners' roles, then, are to help companies figure this out. This is a lot harder than selling a product like a PBX or a TI, but in creating business value for their customers, they will create it for themselves.