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The following are five channel trends that we have identified for 2023.
#1: Continuing consolidation in the channel
Consolidation within the channel will continue 2023 – both within the partner community and with the IT vendor community. Channel partners need to be aware of this trend, as it will affect the dynamics in the industry going forward. And it’s not solely a phenomenon in the U.S. This is happening on a worldwide basis. It’s happening in the distribution world and at the partner level, as well as the IT vendors the partners and distributors resell. It’s a fact that will continue to gain momentum in the new year. Channel partners will need to remain flexible and adaptable, monitoring the consolidation in the channel and with their vendor base, which will create both opportunities and challenges. The strength of relationships between channel partners and their preferred vendors will be a factor in the outcomes of consolidation.
#2: Wrapping comprehensive services around products because of recognition the hybrid cloud has changed everything
The cloud is here to stay. Admittedly, it disrupted the traditional models of selling enterprise storage arrays, servers, networking gear and software. 2023 will be the year that partners who were reluctant to go full-on with the cloud – private cloud and public cloud – will jump on the cloud “bandwagon” and sell cloud services, including storage-as-a-service. The channel needs to understand what is available for storage-as-a-service and what flexible consumption models exist. Channel partners will be able to give a cloud-like experience leveraging on-premises solutions in a hybrid cloud environment.
Many traditional partners are branching into the cloud service provider market, the managed hosting provider market and the managed service provider market or will start shortly. The days of just selling systems or selling a piece of software are over. The channel will need to wrap a comprehensive set of services around products, whether installation services or software services or cloud/hosting services and more.
#3: Green IT is a wave that will sweep the market
Momentum is building for green IT to sweep the market in 2023 and beyond. It will be important for the channel to work with vendors that provide solutions that align with green IT initiatives, reducing energy consumption, cooling, rack space, floor space and, ultimately, impact on the environment. One starting point is to consolidate storage arrays. Storage
consolidation is a “quick win” for IT leaders to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and a contribution to an organization’s green efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Remember, not only does greener IT help the planets ecology, but greener IT lowers OPEX, CAPEX, and operational IT requirements. Greener IT translates into a better world and lower IT costs.
#4: Recognition that cybersecurity is encompassing storage
There will be a burst of realisation across the channel in 2023 that storage needs to be integrated into a cybersecurity strategy. This “moment of truth” that is expected in 2023 has been building up over the past couple of years. Incorporating storage into your customers’ overall cybersecurity strategy will enable channel partners to deliver more comprehensive solutions, uniting security and cyber storage into a single solution. By doing so, channel partners are covering all the bases. For partners, it allows them to increase the revenue opportunities and profit. Security allows partners to combine a number of different components. Cyber storage is critical as a key component to an overall, corporate cybersecurity approach.
#5: Increasing interest within the channel to work with vendors that are easy to do business with
In the post-COVID world, the channel wants to work with vendors that are easy to do business with. The complexities of the world have made it inefficient and counter-productive to work with vendors that are difficult to do business with. Expectations have changed, and we’ll see a shift in 2023 toward vendors with this edge. Channel partners want cloud-like consumption models that are easy for them to use, easy for them to deploy, and easy for them to bill. They also expect reliable co-sell models that will provide proper support, and after the purchase decision, they want technical advisors to be included in the sale. It's all about a frictionless sales experience for partners working with a vendor.