3 Multicloud Trends Impacting the Channel
… unnecessary complexity for IT teams that will drive both expense and risk.
In 2019, we will see the need to decouple intent from the underlying infrastructure accelerate. Partners should expect intent-based everything to take root, expanding beyond point products and moving into broad messaging. While not all companies will associate this with multicloud, it is a necessary precursor that should see heightened attention in the coming year.
2. The battle for control points in the infrastructure will begin.
For some technology sectors, this will mean more software-defined solutions; for others, it will come in the form of infrastructure controllers. Whatever the name, the products that emerge will be logically separated from the underlying infrastructure.
An interesting implication here is that the future will be decidedly more multivendor. Legacy incumbents hoping to cling to existing customers will be forced to choose between participating in the multivendor control game or providing their own solutions in a more open environment.
Channel partners should help enterprises use this shift to increase competition within their suppliers, even if not in pursuit of multicloud. When there is competition, the consumer always wins. And multicloud should stimulate a lot more competition.
3. The shift to multicloud will start with people, not technology.
Cloud already represents a major shift in operations. It requires new skills, which means that the workforce must be retrained and skills updated. While this happens, IT practitioners with relevant cloud experience will be in high demand. For individuals, 2019 will continue the run on cloud professionals. For companies, it will continue to be a tough hiring climate.
Enterprises will need to consider how they’ll retrain rather than replace their workforces. It cannot be that an entire generation of workers is stranded as the industry moves from the on-premises era to the multicloud era. Enterprises will begin to separate themselves from their competitors as they become more (or less) effective at managing this people transition.
As value-added resellers and integrators see this, there will be a massive push toward more transformation services to accompany more traditional equipment sales. This will reshape the IT ecosystem in significant ways. Look for consolidation in the space as larger companies acquire their way into leadership positions.
Ultimately, 2019 will be a preparation year. Equipment makers will shift their portfolios to be more multicloud-ready. Channel players will augment their offerings to drive more consultative sales. And enterprises for whom multicloud is the likely destination will begin re-training the workforce and changing the criteria by which they evaluate new solutions.
While this might seem like not much is happening (and, indeed, skeptics will point to this as proof that no movement is underway), it’s worth underscoring that most championships are won and lost well before the final game is played. Preparation matters. And partners who fail to start will undoubtedly find themselves at a disadvantage when the stakes are at their highest.
Michael Bushong is vice president of enterprise and cloud marketing at Juniper Networks. He spent 12 years at Juniper in a previous tour of duty, running product management, strategy and marketing for Junos Software. Most recently, he was responsible for Brocade’s data center business as vice president of data center routing and switching, and then Brocade’s software business as vice president of product management, software networking. Follow the company on Twitter @JuniperNetworks or follow Bushong on LinkedIn.