Creating channel margin through mobility

Creating channel margin through mobility

The increasingly mobile workforce continues to place new strains on static Australian businesses

(Front L-R): Nada Alterisio (formerly of HP), Karl Sice (formerly of Winc), Nick Beaugeard (HubOne), Craig Sims (CCNA), Hafizah Osman (ARN), Luke Howard (Brother) - (Back L-R): Wayne Harper (Zebra), Cam Wayland (Channel Dynamics), Michael Dyson (Advanced Mobile IT), Nathan Grant (Fujitsu), Matt Wynn-Jones (Counterparts Technology), Damien Moriarty (Retriever), Damian Noonan (Tquila A/NZ)

(Front L-R): Nada Alterisio (formerly of HP), Karl Sice (formerly of Winc), Nick Beaugeard (HubOne), Craig Sims (CCNA), Hafizah Osman (ARN), Luke Howard (Brother) - (Back L-R): Wayne Harper (Zebra), Cam Wayland (Channel Dynamics), Michael Dyson (Advanced Mobile IT), Nathan Grant (Fujitsu), Matt Wynn-Jones (Counterparts Technology), Damien Moriarty (Retriever), Damian Noonan (Tquila A/NZ)

Conversations surrounding the mobility space are shifting, as people and subsequently businesses increase usage in Australia.

But locally, the channel still has a lot to learn, with customer conversations transitioning away from IT-led to business-led.

Collectively, partners are in agreement that there still is a requirement for leadership within the market, as a result of ongoing confusion in terms of where the industry is heading.

But where there is confusion, there is also opportunity.

With end-user expectations and conversations fluctuating, the channel is presented with new opportunities around creating effective go-to-market mobility strategies, as well as built in responses to a digitally dominated workspace.

Gone are the days of conversations around mobility being focused on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Today, conversations represent high-level discussions about extracting value and business outcomes from mobility.

“It’s not just about having a mobile office but the ability to streamline and add value to it,” Brother commercial market development channel manager Luke Howard said.

“Mobility conversations are now around data capture, getting it up into the cloud and into the back end where people can start to analyse the data to help them make business decisions.”

Within the mobility space, businesses are now also relying more on applications and newer technologies to facilitate operations for customers.

“An example of this is the digitisation of drivers’ licences,” Tquila Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) director Damian Noonan added. “Customers now want to use an app that holds all their licence information so they don’t have to type it in but just scan it. Now, they also ask for artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool.”

According to Counterparts Technology managing director Matt Wynn-Jones, conversations around mobility have progressed, which are changing end-user processes for the better.

“We’re not talking about a PC or a 3D, or 2D device; it’s about the application and the technology,” he said. “What we’re talking about is the stuff that’s going on these things and how the dynamics change for our customers or our customer’s customers.”

Nick Beaugeard (HubOne) and Matt Wynn-Jones (Counterparts Technology)
Nick Beaugeard (HubOne) and Matt Wynn-Jones (Counterparts Technology)

Key challenges

Delving deeper into the mobility conversation, Fujitsu Australia NSW and ACT sales manager Nathan Grant observed that video has also become a huge driver of adoption across the market.

The result? The need for better network speeds. Yet this brings up a challenge around security.

“We have to go through and transform not only the customer’s environment but statutory laws and a whole range of other things to support this new technology,” Grant explained. “It is moving so quickly, the users are demanding these new features and it’s a real struggle for the enterprise to keep up.

“So, how do they, in this connected world where apps and data can be anywhere at any time, make sure that those regulatory issues are covered? Or that corporate data is protected? Or that the user still has a sense of self control?”

According to former Winc general manager A/NZ Karl Sice, most vendors in the mobility space are still being pushed to sell units, giving in to the pressure of driving revenue profits.

“This isn’t about the bits and pieces, it is about the outcomes,” he said. “End-users want business outcomes but some vendors are still stuck on revenue driving.

“The world has already changed and we need to embrace and take advantage of it. I think there are still some vendors out there that are still learning their lesson.”

In addition, Howard said vendors that focus on getting that silver bullet right are the ones that are delivering business value when pitching.

“Based on their assessment of the market, they’re the ones that are getting the traction,” he said. “If you’re in mobility and are looking at the data centre, then flash, cloud, as-a-service are all high-level topics that are getting lost in the wash.”

Another challenge that was addressed is partners competing with the telecommunications resellers to make their mark in the channel.

Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific CTO and senior technology director Wayne Harper, said partners are facing strains within mobility as a result of the three largest telcos in Australia using tech funds to run through and refund things at below the lowest price that the channel sells it.

“We can’t stop that, we legally cannot stop that,” he said. “But because of this, half of the telco traditional resellers will die and half of the IT traditional resellers will die and those that survive, will form a new breed.”

Taking the conversation a step further, CCNA director Craig Sims acknowledged such a trend in the industry, meaning that partners must become a trusted advisor to stay afloat in this industry.

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