Are IT partners evolving fast enough to meet the demand for next generation technologies?

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Anil Sethi, Vice President & General Manager- Channels India at Dell Technologies
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By Anil Sethi

With concerted efforts to boost digital transformation, the IT channel space has been witnessing accelerated change like never before. India has made significant progress in driving the APJ region’s adoption of cloud-driven technologies, playing a critical role in the region’s technological developments. Partners have been experimenting with innovative business models to thrive in this existing competition.

With organisations both big and small looking to pursue modern IT architectures and new business efficiencies, IT partners that deliver integrated network, application, infrastructure and security services possess a massive advantage. But the question in focus is: are IT partners transforming fast enough to meet the demand for next generation technologies?

IT partners need a new approach to their sales and customer engagement strategies in order to future-proof the sales channel. Below mentioned are three key considerations:

A mindset shift: from technology to business advisor
There is a need for IT service providers to undergo a drastic shift in mind-set. They need to start thinking of themselves as trusted advisor by being able to meet the needs of their business partners by offering explicit and measurable results. In an environment where line of business (LOB) managers are increasingly doing their own research and purchasing directly from their vendors of choice, channel partners need to evolve their business-to-business marketing and sales processes and directly provide agility, value, and innovation.

For the companies that are currently leading the way in terms of IT automation and modernisation, the input of IT partners has been essential in business growth. These companies have a notedly higher level of IT-LOB collaboration, and are 75 times more likely to have a level of collaboration higher than companies on the other end of the IT transformation spectrum. In short, companies that have whole-heartedly embraced the IT-LOB partnership are far more likely to possess a superior level of organisation performance that is necessary to survive in the today’s competitive business world.

Emerging technology capabilities are a must
With emerging technologies such as 5G and multi-cloud on the rise in India, profound business implications are expected where ultra-high-speed connectivity and decentralised data centres will make the edge more intelligent than ever before. According to Gartner, by 2025, 75 percent of enterprise data will be created and processed at the edge, Whilst this unleashes unlimited potential to advance edge computing and Internet of Things, devising a digital strategy that spans from the edge to the core to the cloud may pose a challenge for many business leaders.

Against this disruptive technology landscape, IT partners urgently need to progress from selling glossy new products to providing valuable consultation on building strategic IT infrastructures. This goal pushes traditional IT partners to look beyond the sales of components to solve larger, complex enterprise problems. Partners must also conduct frequent internal assessments to test their ability to meet new IT needs. If the results are dissatisfactory, partners need to take immediate actions to strengthen their offerings in order to have a fighting chance in the competitive channel landscape.

Moving forward with the partnering of partners
In a volatile landscape driven by the breakneck speed of innovation, enterprise customers want powerful IT solutions capable of meeting new business demands, and they are prepared to engage multiple vendors to obtain on-demand, fully-managed services that cover all IT needs.

This presents new opportunities for strategic alliances between partners with distinguished, yet complementary skill sets to enhance and differentiate their combined offerings. It is almost impossible for one partner to operate entirely self-sufficiently from the channel network as customers increasingly seek new levels of specialisations, yet at the same time demand one-stop shops. Successful partnerships will strengthen the overall value proposition and allow greater technical expertise to reverberate through the entire ecosystem.

Embarking on digital transformation projects is no easy feat for organisations. They can be clear about their desired future state but lack the technical expertise to get from where they are to where they want to be. IT partners have the privilege to be the guiding force in that journey. The key to successfully fulfilling that role is to work towards constantly improving what we bring to the table to provide the customer with best solutions to support their business.

(The author is the Vice President & General Manager- Channels India at Dell Technologies)

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