The art of surviving and thriving in the eye of the digital storm requires the modern-day partner to ask new questions of customers, while learning from the experiences of previous channel failures.
Labelled the ‘Vortex of Change’ during EDGE 2016, a confluence of digital and technology innovation has left partners and businesses alike struggling to keep pace with industry transformation on both sides of the Tasman.
“The way we’ve been doing business has been flipped upside down,” Intel channel sales director, V.R. Rajkumar, said.
“There is a new normal when it comes to doing business and those who are bold and innovate not only succeed but they thrive.”
For Rajkumar, the “inevitable impact” of digitalisation has created data-driven organisations, organisations that are better equipped to prosper through greater insights and accuracy.
“These drivers and growth enablers are what will define Australia and New Zealand as they move from a traditional economy to a digital economy,” he said.
Citing Australia as an example, Rajkumar said the country represents 24 million people, with a population growth rate of 1.34 per cent alongside 54 per cent net migration.
Through working with both the Australian and New Zealand governments, Rajkumar said Intel has seen a “clear intention” to prepare each country for the “inevitable change” that digitalisation will trigger.
“Our leaders are shifting their focus from the mining boom to the ideas boom,” he said. “They are implementing STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] and implementing coding from kindergarten.”
From a channel perspective, Rajkumar said partners will play a “pivotal role” in implementing such change across all sectors of the economy, citing Intel’s own challenges around instigating a new approach in the marketplace.
“When most people think of Intel they think of a chip company,” he acknowledged. “But Intel is not just a chip or CPU company, we have changed due to the change that our customers are experiencing. It’s a change that has been forced upon us.”
For Rajkumar, change can also lead to “over exuberance” on the part of customers, referencing Internet of Things adoption at a local level.
“Many have been saying as a result of the IoT phenomenon that the PC is dead, but the PC is not dead, it will just become another thing in the Internet of Things,” he said.
According to Rajkumar, the inevitable shift to digital business is being driven by six key components.
“The data driven economy; the smart world enabled by IoT; on demand products and services; trusted applications underpinned by security; the connected experience and the innovative workforce,” he explained.
Consequently, Rajkumar advised partners to ask businesses to outline its calendar of change during the past twelve months, mapping out the key drivers and challenges along the way.
“The answers to these questions will help prepare the organisation for the next step in its shift to digital,” he said.
During the following on stage discussion - in front of 250 leading trans-Tasman channel leaders - Intel IoT partner sales manager, Ganga Varatharajan, urged the channel to adapt to the changing needs of customers to remain relevant.
“Customers are looking to get return on investment and channel partners need to be able to provide that,” he said.
“No longer can you afford to be transactional with customers, it’s not even enough to be a solutions provider anymore, you really need to provide value to your customers.
“You have to understand that no one single vendor or partner can provide an IoT solution end-to-end so collaboration is key.
"Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you are a small company with five or six employees that you can’t be part of a multi-million dollar project.”
Citing the IoT as a core opportunity for the channel, Varatharajan said partners must also understand that this represents the “beginning of the journey”, with the full potential of IoT solutions yet to be delivered on a significant scale.
“What you do today will set you up on a learning journey where you will acquire the skills and capabilities to deliver much more complex, sophisticated and scalable IT solutions in the future,” he added.
Technologically speaking, Intel channel account manager, Harry Boyadjian, said such pace of change is playing out in the datacentre at a vendor level.
“All of the data being collected is flying up into the Cloud and the datacentre is now required to run the analytics and needs to adapt to suit these new requirements,” he said.
“This time next time, the technologies we are going to be talking about will be completely different to those we are talking about today.”
EDGE is designed to bring the Australia and New Zealand channel together in a collaborative and educational environment, providing vendors, distributors and partners with the competitive advantage necessary to bring continued success in 2016 and beyond.