CompTIA kicked off its annual ChannelCon event earlier this month, bringing organizations across the globe to foster learning, develop partnerships and grow businesses. With a record turnout in person and online, I was excited to see what this year’s event would bring. In case you weren’t able to make the conference, here are the three biggest takeaways from ChannelCon 2015:
1. Transformation of the channel: As today’s IT channel undergoes a transition along with the rest of the technology industry, channel firms continue to move from a transactional sales model to service provider status. Our 2014 State of the Channel study found 34 percent of channel firms expect to make major changes in their sales and marketing approaches this year, while another 45 percent predict at least a minor change. As customers seek out partners they can work more collaboratively with, channel firms are adapting to this transformation. To maintain long-term customer relationships, channel firms are revamping their role and taking their customer service to the next level.
2. Prioritizing IT Security: Our studies show nearly three-fourths of U.S. companies rank security as a higher priority today than it was two years ago, and 85 percent say it will be an even higher priority two years from now. It was clear at ChannelCon that, as a result, many channel firms are adjusting their services to incorporate security offerings.
As companies constantly change how they manage their security, channel firms must evolve their services to meet client needs. However, this isn’t enough. Since many companies hold the channel accountable for security malfunctions, channel firms must go beyond implementing comprehensive security policies and educating users about risks. In addition, channel firms should proactively seek out and communicate security weaknesses in order to keep both partners in the clear.
3. Bridging the generational gap: Millennials have made their way into the tech industry, and they’re here to stay. However, it’s no secret that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers still far outnumber their younger counterparts in the channel. As Millennials seek out jobs in tech, they often opt for larger firms outside of the channel. In turn, the channel continues to experience a growing gap between IT mavens and aspiring pros.
To bridge this gap, the channel must welcome younger workers with open arms. Many Millennials in the channel yearn for a sense of belonging, and companies should take the extra step to ensure these needs are being met. One way channel firms can do this is by embracing generational differences and encouraging collaboration between older and younger workers. Employers should also provide opportunities for them to attend industry events and join groups that provide a supportive network for younger IT pros.
Though industry veterans have undeniable experience, Millennials can offer a fresh take. By making room for more Millennials in the channel, firms can foster the innovation and growth the industry needs.