And so, a gap can emerge between the innovators – the early adopters – and the ‘late majority’ and laggards.
“It’s typically the human component that’s a bit of a brake on that,” Berry said. “So, the technology can move really fast, but the humans will transform more slowly; however, they can still adapt, and some will want to go quickly.
“Often, I think, the biggest thing with any transformation is the system — the ecosystem, the environment, the processes and the ingrained ways that people adapt — that’s the thing that changes slowest of all, and at a macro level, that’s the economy and the way what the country is structured. But at a micro level, within any business, they’ve got so many ingrained ways of doing things, even if the people want to change, the ability to change the way that they work is slowing them down.
So, what does all this mean for partners and, most importantly, for Tech Data itself?
Well, for starters, it means there’s no major barriers on the tech front.
"I don’t think the technology is the issue, but I think the technology will show the way,” Berry said, noting that the technology being enabled and being offered as it makes easier, faster, cheaper, then the human desire to shift will accelerate.
“That’s when I think we’ll see the strong demand from the market as we move out of innovator and beyond early adopter, and then that I think will create the momentum that sees the system itself shift,” he said.
Amid this backdrop, Berry sees Tech Data’s role as being all about taking the technology and the platforms, putting it out there into the market, and helping to encourage customers and vendors to leverage the dynamic of the broader trends which will, in turn, accelerate the pace of transformation.
Big ticket growth areas
While opportunities abound, Berry said that some of the top conversations he has with partners are about where and how they can grow as the whole marketplace changes around them.
Another big topic is cloud, with Berry noting that although many partners have dipped their proverbial toes in cloud, they really haven’t waded deeply into it. For Berry, some partners remain unsure about how they can leverage cloud – but not due to any technical barriers, necessarily.
“I think it’s less the technology of cloud that perhaps holds them back so much as the ingrained business model,” Berry said. “Not just inside their organisations, but the way that their customers transact and buy. That inertia, I would say that’s a common theme.”
Security is also a big ticket area of opportunity and growth for partners, according to Berry. Many partners today, especially the managed service providers (MSPs), are finding that they have to cover security and cyber as a significant component of the solutions they are taking out to the market.
Other megatrends, such as IoT, big data and analytics to a lesser extent, remain talking points in conversations with partners, according to Berry, but there are very few that have chosen to jump on those megatrends, in terms of their business investments.
“I think there’s still some uncertainty over ‘exactly how do I translate that into a business case and make some money out of that’,” he said.