1. Key channel plays for 2015?
Partnering will be vital. Here are three examples:
- Technology, the various platforms on which it sits, the devices on which it is consumed and the behaviour of users continue to evolve at a breakneck pace.
- The economics of ICT and the traditional reseller channel have changed, and will continue to do so. Maintaining a cost structure in your business that is reliant on continuing to churn through chunky deals (and with 2010-like gross margins) is extremely courageous.
- The typical buyer is more knowledgeable than ever before, and more prepared to dictate many of the elements to a solution
These factors have created a marketplace where the generalist solution provider has lost relevance, while the expense inherent in becoming and maintaining a truly broad-based and expert solution provider business is prohibitive. The alternative is to be a business that is both motivated to partner with others, and also willing to take the steps required so that others can more easily partner with you.
2. Key technology for 2015?
It's hard to look beyond security as being a key technology area once again. The rapid evolution of technologies always drive an overriding focus on being first to market, with the vulnerabilities in the solution inevitably being discovered some time afterwards. Even during times of stretched budgets - as will be the case once again in 2015 - it's a brave CEO or board who knocks back critical security focussed budget requests.
3. Key message to the channel for 2015?
Commit to continually educating yourself on the newer entrants to the vendor space. Even if ultimately you decide their technology, support or business process doesn't fit your business, the days of being able to take a bet on just one or two big vendors are generally behind us, and you will be in a much better position to serve your customers requirements before someone else does.
4. Key warning to the channel for 2015?
Don't get too carried away with chasing whatever "next big thing" crops up in 2015. Rather, build a plan that focuses on the unchanged foundations of good business (having the solutions, pricing model and service levels that address real needs within your target market), while acknowledging and responding to the significant transformation and disruption that is underway in our industry.
5. Key for you in 2015?
Taking my own advice on number 4!