Professional services, digital workplace, opportunities for Aruba channel
CHANNEL OUTLOOK 2018
In 2017 HPE Aruba channels grew in most countries but sectors varied. The vendor had strong business in UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Turkey in Hospitality. Education was strong in Turkey and UAE while Telecom was strong in Oman with some signs of return from Saudi Arabia. Public sector was strong in Egypt, Turkey and Qatar. Market in Africa grew in the SMB segment and education vertical.
Aruba will expand its channel growth in North Africa and continue to focus on the Middle East. North African boost will come from helping distribution to focus more on Aruba opportunities and supporting them with creative sales and marketing programs. For the vendor, the digital workplace and transformation will be a main area of focus for customers in these regions and accordingly the channel is being enabled on delivering related solutions.
Also, HPE Aruba is putting focus on securing the network edge and edge of IoT platforms. SMB is expected to be a major growth area and channel partners are ready to pick up the momentum. Fiscal 2017 was a tremendous success especially in mobility. The channel is looking at technologies they can grow with and this is the opportunity the vendor can give to them.
Channel partners must have a balance between near future objectives such as top line and bottom line goals and industry trends so they can keep growing and evolving with the fast pace of technology. For example, cloud solutions are in a strong adoption phase in the US and is gaining momentum in Europe. In Middle East and Africa, cloud solutions are still being contemplated by the market, but it is clearly coming of age in a couple of years.
Some solutions are already being deployed and others will be soon, such as network related cloud solutions. So, channel partners who build readiness for cloud will earn the advantage of selling and serving this solution. Similar logic regarding IoT and other new solutions like security at the edge can be applied.
HPE Aruba’s strategy for the channel is to fully delegate services to its partners. This is an attractive margin opportunity for channel partners since most of vendor competitors have professional services practices that compete head to head with their own partners. This was our Aruba’s 2017 strategy and the vendor remains committed to it in 2018 and beyond.
Related to this is an offering of value based solutions where a channel partner integrates several solutions based on software and services. A channel partner who proves capable to customers in such areas will make positive margins on the total solution compared to product selling, where competition is on price and accordingly low margins.
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning will make further inroads into the workplace, and we are seeing this already given the amount of resources invested into natural language processing initiatives. It will be interesting to see how artificial intelligence, and more specifically machine learning is going to shape the network security landscape going forward.
Security is a key concern for chief security officers as their enterprises become increasingly mobile, but by deploying a machine-learning framework on enterprise networks, suspect behaviour can be spotted, analysed and responded to automatically, which means CSO’s can rest assured that their enterprise is being protected. This then leaves IT staff to take care of the day-to-day operations, lessening the need to monitor networks manually.
A technology that is not new but has taken major steps towards becoming common practice for enterprises is Edge Computing. With the explosion of connected devices, cloud, and data transferred globally, the increased traffic puts a lot of strain on the bandwidth and network capabilities of enterprise infrastructure.
Latency requirements and the fact that data processing is becoming key for all organisations, processing will need to move away from central processing nodes and pushed towards the edge of the network. This will help improve the network capabilities for data gathering and processing, and lessened latency issues mean that connected devices can function optimally.