What channel business will look like in 2019

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Rajesh Goenka, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Rashi Peripherals

By Rajesh Goenka

The year 2018 was the most volatile year for the channel fraternity in India. While the repercussions of the GST continued to affect the channel business, the storm created by e-commerce during the festive season and the nationwide protest by the brick and mortar, adversely impacted the channel business. The traditional channel is transforming and expanding its business horizons to sustain in the industry. Here are four key trends which will dominate the channel in 2019.

Security business to be at all-time high
With the advent of growing awareness about security (both physical and digital), the security and surveillance industry will continue to grow in 2019. The government initiatives like Smart City and Safe City projects have triggered a huge demand for security hardware such as CCTV cameras, storage and solutions such as cloud and AI. According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, India’s video surveillance market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 16.4 per cent during 2018-2024. As the IT business is growing through stagnancy, security is the next growth destination, channel partners should head to. In 2019, we will see channel partners expanding verticals and stepping into the security area for better RoI and sustainable business in a big way.

Cloud computing to grow further
With minimum operating cost, the cloud has emerged as the most cost-effective option to manage the workloads and processes. As a result, many small and mid-level organisations are shifting on the cloud. Though public cloud still dominates the market, the hybrid cloud and private cloud are also growing consistently. While enterprises have started their cloud journey, there is still a significant untapped segment of the market which provides huge opportunities for partners in the cloud business. Various cloud environments offer vast opportunities for partners. A right choice of platform and vendor along with domain expertise will be the key for the success for cloud channel partners in 2019.

AI is the new wave
Though at a nascent phase currently, the AI business will bolster in 2019 due to rising demand for AI solutions from different industries. According to IDC, the worldwide market for AI and cognitive systems reached US$8 billion in 2016 and will expand to more than US$ 47 billion by 2020. While the adopters of AI are largely the enterprises, the trend will change as vendors embed the technology in software applications and make it available as service via the cloud for mass consumption. The enterprise channel has huge prospects in this flourishing business vertical which is the near future of the industry.

A retrospective of the business need of an hour
While the industry is transforming on a rapid pace and moving towards software define everything where technologies such as cloud, IoT, AI will become a key part of business operations, the partners will be seen embracing the new wave of technological transformation. Value addition will continue to remain the key factor for growth and channel partners will focus more on services than mere box pushing. Customer satisfaction will be crucial and partners will focus on improvising the overall customer experience. In short, partners will pay attention towards overall organizational health check in 2019.

(The author is the Director – Sales & Marketing, RP tech)