2018 (New) Channel Influencer Awards: We’re Naming the 50 People, Suppliers, Techs and Trends to Watch

Lorna Garey

Lorna Garey

There’s nothing like a big, collaborative awards program package to pull a team together. So TC Doyle, senior content director for Penton, and I got together and figured, why not get the entire, extended Channel Partners and Channel Futures editorial family involved in our first-ever Channel Influencer Awards?

What’s that you’re thinking? “Another awards program. Really?”

This one is different, and here’s why. In case you missed the buzz, the Channel Partners team is joining forces with the talented editors from MSPmentor, The VAR Guy and Talkin’ Cloud to provide the industry’s broadest and deepest coverage of the new channel. What do we mean by “new channel”? Check out this free ebook by TC for an in-depth discussion. Short answer, the new channel comprises both traditional partners that may (or may not) be reinventing themselves and an array of newcomers that see opportunities to deliver customer value and make some money doing it. Jay McBain, principal analyst for global channels at Forrester, listed some of these newcomers at his recent Channel Partners Evolution keynote: SaaS ecosystem consultants, vertical specialists and ISVs with the skills to customize generic software.

One lure for these come-latelies is a seismic shift in spending power. Today, 65 percent of all tech-purchasing decisions are made by line-of-business leaders, says McBain. Almost one-third of the time, IT isn’t even involved. There can be a dozen people in the decision chain, and research is largely done before anyone outside the org gets a call. Gartner says this trend isn’t slowing — LOB leaders will directly control 80 percent of all information and communications technology spending by 2020. The CIOs, CTOs and IT managers that agents, consultants, digital services resellers, MSPs and VARs have dealt with for years? They’re losing budget clout, fast.

Suppliers are noticing, and tinkering with their channel programs. 2112 Group CEO Larry Walsh says deal registration is dead, or at least on life support. Telarus CEO Patrick Oborn told me recently that partners need to realize they’re not competing with one another; they’re in a fight with direct reps undercutting on price.

Enough of the doom and gloom. We as a group believe the future for the channel is bright. We just need to adapt. You have the skills to assemble hardware, software and connectivity into services to support customers’ digital initiatives, from automation to AI to IoT, which is set to explode. Just look at Verizon’s 2017 Internet of Things State of the Market report.  While 73 percent of execs surveyed are researching or currently deploying IoT, for most, these are proofs of concept or simple projects to track data and send status alerts. Customers are on the verge of big things. LOB leaders might have the purse strings, but they have a tendency to fall prey to inertia, lack of time, doubts over the ability of their IT teams to execute, and worries over security.

TC and I are committed to putting the unmatched experience of this team to work guiding you to address all those roadblocks and become indispensable to customers’ digital success. This awards program kicks off that effort. Here’s the scoop: Our December issue will name the 50 people, technologies, trends and organizations that can guide you to success in the new channel. As I write, our editorial team is flipping through reporter’s notebooks, talking to analysts and …

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