Distributors Chime In on What’s Ahead for 2019
In the broader channel ecosystem, the relationship between distributors and channel partners is critical to how business gets done. For most channel partner businesses — MSPs, MSSPs, VARs, Sis and CSPs, among others — distribution partners are the front door to the vendor products and solutions they offer their customers. Channel partners turn to their distribution partners for everything from hardware and software to cloud and services, not to mention financing, marketing, training and partner programs. Distributors are also a key source for industry insight and perspective, business development, partner networking, as well as the nurturing of peer-to-peer partner communities.
As the industry closes out the year and looks ahead to the next one, Channel Futures asked familiar players in IT distribution to do some crystal ball gazing and share their vision for 2019. Here are the collective insights from distributors D&H Distributing, Ingram Micro, Pax8, Synnex and Tech Data, plus the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC).
Dan Schwab, co-president at D&H — the distributor who has held fast to its focus on the SMB market and the partners who serve it — sees the spotlight for 2019 focused on unified communications (UC) and cybersecurity.
UC serves as a platform for technologies, such as cloud-based collaboration and video conferencing products that are gaining a foothold in the SMB marketplace. As the cybersecurity threats to users and the network continue their upward spiral, with hackers becoming more devious and imperceptible in their methods, D&H sees the continued focus on cybersecurity as vital.
Schwab also sees the upcoming year as one where “everything-as-a-service” will emerge; resellers will deliver hosted services to address all the requirements of users in business environments based on platforms such as Microsoft Office 365, Cisco Webex Teams, and Azure. This trend will encompass functions such as hosted printing, web-based services, collaboration, storage and document management, on through larger capabilities like hosted email Exchange and data center services.
Ingram Micro’s Kirk Robinson, chief country executive, sees 2019 as being all about the customer experience. It’s about “What more can we do and what more can you do to help those we serve be better today and every day?” Business as usual isn’t enough. Distributors and partners must work together to exceed expectations by delivering the experience and results — or the business outcomes – partners and customers want.
Embracing change is a must, as is getting comfortable being uncomfortable.
His advice for 2019 is to take inventory and ensure that you’re collaborating with companies — distributors, vendors, peers, associations — you trust will do right by you and your customers. The teams and the partner ecosystem we develop are vital to our success, as well as the success of our partners and their customers. The right partners, and ultimately the right customers, will help you …