Ashraf Yehia, Managing Director – Middle East, Eaton, makes some insightful predictions for channel partners in 2020. He argues they will need clarity in their strategy to make the right decisions. “Only then will they be able to set themselves up as trusted partners able to deliver and truly support customers on their strategy,” he says.
#1 – Tap into the profit potential of sustainability
“Companies and consumers alike are increasingly aware of their impact on the planet. With more pressure to create sustainable businesses, many organisations are adapting quickly to build sustainability into their organisation and become more accountable to their customers, workforce and even their investors.
“For channel partners, this presents an opportunity to not only play their part to help companies conserve resources and reduce their carbon footprint – but earn from it too.
“A resilient power infrastructure is a critical component for every business’ success. In 2020, partners advising IT and electrical managers on tailored solutions which ensure highly available and reliable electrical power should keep sustainability front of mind.
“Beyond acting as a true value add for customers shifting to a more sustainable business model, this will create additional revenue opportunities for partners next year. Savvy channel partners will tap into the sustainability drive in 2020 – looking after the planet while looking after their bottom line.”
#2 – Achieve clarity in an era of overwhelming choice
“We’re living in an era of choice – constantly surrounded by options and the wide-ranging consequences of our decisions. This will only increase for the channel in 2020. Growing global markets, rapid technological evolution and a plethora of vendors – from disruptors to those being disrupted – means channel partners face a constant onslaught of choices. And the more choices, the harder the decision-making process can be.
“With so much choice, partners are aware that there is a chance they could get it wrong. Yet knowing exactly what they want to get out of a choice and why they want it in the first place is vital. It can help partners to nail the decision-making process.
“In 2020, channel partners will need clarity in their strategy and direction to make the right decisions in today’s era of choice overload. Only then will they be able to set themselves up as trusted partners able to deliver and truly support customers on their strategy.”
#3 – Skilled counsel key to overcoming ‘analysis paralysis’
“Big Data and analytics are being employed to help companies pinpoint their strengths and navigate a pathway to maximise them. However, the people element cannot be overlooked in the channel this year.
“No matter the new technologies being deployed, the channel is about human to human interaction. Advising on the best solution for a particular requirement requires a combination of both technical expertise and an understanding which goes beyond data analysis.
“That level of understanding requires channel partners which can layer human understanding of the particular nuances specific to that business on top of the picture created by data alone.
“With so many customers facing a wealth of vendor and solution choice in 2020, they can fall victim to ‘analysis paralysis’ – weighing up pros and cons for so long that a decision is never made. They will increasingly turn to channel partners for trusted counsel based on their detailed understanding of their business.
“As a result, channel partners will need to ensure the people element isn’t lost among technological developments in 2020. Without it, they will not be able to advise customers on what is right for them and put an end to ‘analysis paralysis’ delays.”
#4 – Edge Computing and the shifting power mindshare
“Edge Computing is taking off as the Internet of Things expands – and we can expect to see the knock-on effect of this across many sectors in 2020. From building smart factories to revolutionising commercialised gaming and eSports, more customers will try to tap into Edge Computing as the technology advances to enable enhanced AI and analytics.
“Yet whether they are incorporating IoT sensors into manufacturing equipment to allow for predictive maintenance or hosting gaming tournaments to appeal to a new generation of e-sports players, they will need to manage introducing computational capabilities into nodes at the network edge to process information and deliver these services.
“This shift will transform our power requirements and provide an opportunity for channel partners to grow their revenue in 2020.
“Resilient power solutions and back-up power will be increasingly vital as businesses handle more compute across their network – from core data centres to edge devices. To reap the rewards of today’s rapidly shifting business reliance on power, channel partners should look out for the selling opportunities set in motion by this perception change next year.”