(Pictured above: Andrea Miner, director of global market research for Tech Data, at the company’s Channel Link event in Austin, Texas, June 28.)
TECH DATA CHANNEL LINK — Second-platform technologies remain strong in the SMB market, but partners can play a key role in steering companies toward third-platform technologies that allow businesses to speed their digital transformations.
That’s what Andrea Miner, Tech Data‘s director of global market research, told attendees at the IT distributor’s Channel Link conference this week. The conference is geared toward partner opportunities with SMB end users.
Originally focused on big data and analytics, cloud, mobility and social, the third platform has evolved to include the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented-reality devices, “providing additional opportunity to build solutions” and additional revenue, Miner said.
The second platform is focused on the client/server system, and it remains a high priority for SMBs, she said. Upgrading PCs remains a top priority for this market.
In addition to continuing to support SMBs’ second-platform needs, partners can guide the conversation more toward the benefits of third-platform technologies, Miner said.
The concept of digital transformation ties third-platform technologies to business outcomes, and selling a solution rather than a product, Miner said.
“Third platform requires doing business in a different way,” she said. “We have to change the way we’re doing business and how we capture that spend.”
“No one in IT distribution today has made the investments to enable your transformation to third platform than Tech Data, right here, right now,” said Rob Webster, Tech Data’s director of SMB sales.
“Our Level Up platform is available for your organization 24/7,” he said. “It’s an online training and enablement platform (with) training videos, infographics, sales presentations and more. Level Up also gives access to a community of your peers.”
Phillip Privett, Tech Data’s vice president of technologies and solutions for Cisco Solutions, said there’s still a strong second-platform need in the market with the refresh of technologies that have been out there for awhile.
“When you look at the migration of that third platform, a lot of it starts with … net-new companies as much as it does with large enterprise,” he said. “When you look at the current cost model ($5,000 to start a business), people are starting these new businesses that can evolve very quickly into something major. There are companies that didn’t exist last year that are displacing Fortune 500 companies in turn by leveraging an IoT offering.”
Lots of opportunities exist because of that evolution to the third platform, Privett said.
“Most customers are starting there now,” he said. “If you didn’t have the second-platform infrastructure, why would you not start your business in a cloud? Why would you not start from an online analytics opportunity? Why would you not start an IoT as a component of your business if you didn’t have all the manufacturing hardware that wasn’t IoT-enabled? You would start leveraging …