The rise of technology trends, such as cloud computing and mobility, has changed the way IT is chosen, constructed and implemented, and created more opportunities for channel partners to engage with customers.
CompTIA, the non-profit Computer Technology Industry Association, has identified five key ways the channel can benefit from the growing reliance on technology:
1. Increased technology literacy across the board
As organisations have adopted more usable and capable consumer products, like smartphones and cloud services, employee technology literacy has increased. This makes it easier for non-IT staff to research new technologies for business use, CompTIA finds.
Moheb Moses, CompTIA director channel dynamics and ANZ community director, says, “The channel can make the most of this increasing literacy across the organisation by extending advice and guidance to non-IT staff considering new business technologies.
"This gives the channel a broader footprint in the customer organisation, creating more opportunities for sales and making it easier to build long-term, advisory relationships.”
2. Increased procurement by non-IT line of business units
Non-IT line of business units are not only more aware of technology solutions, but more able to procure the solutions they need, themselves. This presents an opportunity for the channel to simplify the procurement process for non-IT staff, according to CompTIA.
3. Greater collaboration over IT decisions
IT and non-IT teams are increasingly working closely together to benefit from fast business unit procurement with the security of IT oversight, CompTIA says.
IT teams are likely to control at least half of the technology budget, and business units will still keep IT involved, even if they make the final purchasing decision. Channel sales teams can address the collaboration trend by framing IT sales conversations for both IT and non-IT clients, according to CompTIA.
4. New skills to encourage innovation added to IT function
In many cases, innovation is motivating IT to work even more closely with business units to develop new solutions. The channel can provide the technical and business-related skills necessary to support business innovation. This can be achieved through training, hiring, and partnering, CompTIA finds.
5. Increased need to manage data independently
Many organisations are discovering data silos as they audit their internal data. According to CompTIA research, 48% of organisations want to utilise their existing data more fully. The channel can help these organisations consolidate this data and understand the complete set, and then undergo more advanced analytics.
Seth Robinson, CompTIA senior director technology analysis, says, “The channel must address information and systems holistically. The opportunity is in how data is managed today, and how systems are built and designed for the future."
“Overall there are increased opportunities for the channel by virtue of the fact that nearly every manager now has a de facto IT function. That gives channel sales representatives more people to speak to in each organisation, and more opportunities to act as a trusted advisor.
"This will ultimately benefit the channel as these organisations look for help in managing and consolidating their IT procurement processes," Robinson says.