Gartner VP and analyst, Tiffani Bova, took to the stage at Microsoft APC 2015 to describe what she feels lies in store over the next five years, and what the channel partner of 2020 will look like.
"Probably about five years ago I really started talking about how the partner of the future was going to be somebody who was hybrid, IP driven with recurring revenue, more services - what's interesting for me is I've seen much of that happen," she said.
"The partner of 2020 is going to be different, and we really need to challenge who we are today."
Bova believes that we will rapidly see businesses develop bi-modal offerings.
"It's beyond analytics, Cloud, mobility, whatever it might be. The point is, you can start to see that we're moving away from industrialised solutions, that tend to be a bit more heavy, and to crafting solutions that can be a lot more fluid."
Using the example of a lorry and a sports car, one is needed to do the traditional IT heavy lifting and logistics, the other is more high speed and exploratory.
"Running at two speeds, or being bi-modal, is challenging even the largest of organisations. It's going to challenge the channel.
"Speed one is very predictable, there's a project, there's a start date, an ending. You sell it to IT, procurement. Speed two is very exploratory, 'I'm not sure if its going to work, so I want to fail fast and try again'.
"The talent pool in one is very comfortable in one, and they don't know how to behave in two. The channel is the same."
Bova believes most channel organisations will have to create different subsidiaries to achieve these goals. A good example is UXC's various divisions, such as Oxygen and Eclipse.
"We think that 40 per cent of businesses will be bi-modal. Going forward, we think that 75 per cent of all businesses will be bi-modal."
"There will be a significant group of those that will fail."
Bova also believes that by 2020, 75 per cent of all app purchases for digital businesses will be built and not bought.Read more: Wanted: Young Victorian innovators
The transition of all businesses to digital is about more than just e-commerce, it will affect every touch point.
"This is the biggest shift in the market I have ever seen."
Of particular focus are disruptive technologies such as the Internet of Things and 3D printing.
Philips has already developed light bulbs that sync to your phone and change colour to suit - so a picture of a sunset will connect to your network and adjust mood lighting accordingly.
Underarmour is putting digital technology into its clothing, and Coke is now claiming "one degree of separation from every human being on earth" due to its digitisation, including apps, IoT, and software.
Bocva esimates that by 2017, 20 per cent of durable goods e-tailers will use 3D printing to create personalised offerings. For example, dresses are already being created in fashion, medical providers are providing 3D printed casts with sensors in them, and even prototypes for industrial art, such as power line towers that look like people.
In a world where the customer is now realising they can ask "why not?" and demand an answer, the industry has had to change to suit these demands.
"Really it's the customer that is the most disruptive thing in the market," she said.