After all the holiday merriment, a new year lies ahead filled with new opportunities, potential roadblocks and breakthroughs.
This year saw rapid, continued M&A, the emergence of new partner types and business models, and technology advances, along with financial struggles, workforce reductions and changes in strategy to remain competitive.
So what’s in store for 2019?
Continuing business-transformation struggles, new competitors, an uncertain economy and the ongoing tech worker shortage will remain challenges for the channel in 2019, said Carolyn April, CompTIA‘s senior director of industry analysis and member of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board.
“For example, respondents to CompTIA’s recently released Seventh State of the Channel report said the two main reasons to be pessimistic about the year ahead in the channel is the persistent skills gap for emerging tech (AI, blockchain, VR, IoT, drones and so on) as well as fear of new competitors such as those in the growing SaaS ecosystem and in non-technical professions such as accounting and law firms,” she said.
Josh Lupresto, Telarus‘ vice president of sales engineering, said “just as we help our employees look back, we want to help our channel partners do the same.”
“As we look forward into what’s in store for 2019, it’s equally important to look back at the previous years,” he said. “With the addition of security specific suppliers like Quest, CyberReef, Office Depot, Thrive and IBM, 2019 will be the first year a partner can compete for every piece of a customer’s business.”
Below and in the pages that follow, we offer a list of challenges and tips for channel success in 2019 from members of the editorial advisory board and others in the channel.
Challenge: Security for Everyone
The buzzword that everyone hears is security. A lot of companies in the channel are somewhat apprehensive in entering any type of conversation surrounding this, and those that are comfortable going down the rabbit hole likely have their own security offerings and do not look to carrier solutions as frequently, if at all, said Bryan Reynolds, TBI‘s director of sales operations.
|Our other recently published “top 20” lists include providers of UCaaS, enterprise telephony, SD-WAN, antivirus software, and backup and DR. We also highlighted 20 top channel thought leaders.|
“If we look at the many, many offerings that providers have today, you find that some fall on the side of simple bundled services which can be easy to position … or on the side of complex, a la carte services, like any of the big providers out there, with the possibilities being endless — not to mention the army of highly credentialed resources that they make available, which can sometimes add more confusion,” he said. “Good because they can have the conversation, but bad because it can be menacing to the customer. Education not only on security, but also on the provider options and process will be a moving target, but necessary to move forward.”
(20 Tips and Challenges continued on next page)