Weekend Read: Every Company is a Tech Company, and Every Tech Company Needs a Channel
Happy Friday to you, my friends. Typically I devote this space to a roundup of the week in tech news, delivered with just a little bit of snark. But I want to focus our chat today on an article that appeared in the New York Times last weekend in which the paper discussed the implications of tech companies occupying the top four spots on the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index at the close of trading on August 1. Apple, Google (Alphabet), Microsoft and Amazon were the four most valuable companies in the S&P for that moment (rankings shift constantly and companies normally move up and down a spot or two during the course of any given day). It’s an occurrence so rare that Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, told the Times it just might have been the first time in history.
It’s no shocker that tech is the 21st century market’s new version of the oil industry. It dominates everything. The thing is, the S&P doesn’t even classify Amazon as a tech company. Like Walmart, the formal designation for Amazon is a “consumer discretionary company.” And at least three of the other top 10 companies on the S&P 500 also hail from other sectors but have gained or retained their leading status due to their investments and advancements in tech: Johnson & Johnson is a healthcare company that works heavily in biotech. General Electric is classified as a diversified industrial company but has both research and tech products business units. And telecommunications giant AT&T helped develop the core technologies that underpin many of America’s modern tech companies, including operating systems, communications hubs and one of the most advanced cybersecurity teams in the country.
So what does that mean for us? The Times asks, “When every company is a tech company, does the label matter?” But let’s take that a step further. If every company is a tech company, then every company needs channel partners. Every industry, from finance to healthcare, education to public safety, marketing to business services all run on tech systems that have to be sold and managed by partners. Moreover, as these myriad sectors start to embrace tech in order to stay competitive, they’re going to need experts to guide them. What better way to step into that role of trusted advisor that we’re always yammering about in the channel than to become the knight in shining armor for a business that knows it needs automation, security and data analytics but hasn’t the faintest idea how to get started?
But that means partners need to be on a constant lookout for such opportunities. Earlier this week, we ran a story in which Tim Herbert, senior vice president of research and analysis at CompTIA, told readers that in order to thrive in today’s ecosystem, partners need to self-educate on a high level about certain trends that permeate every area of business such as cybersecurity and data analysis. When it comes to partners’ business models, the sectors to which they sell and the solutions they provide, they need to engage in the same self-education. The channel is no longer just about the big vendors dictating what partners sell and and how they sell it. Resellers, service providers and other forms of partners need an understanding of the tech and business world as a whole in order to be able to see new opportunities created in the modern market.
Every company is a tech company, and so every company has channel opportunities. This week alone, we’ve seen a need for trusted tech advisors in the airline industry (Delta’s nightmare day of power outages and canceled flights), education (college students buying supplies for the fall and public schools looking for new platforms to try and improve test scores) and the automotive sector (the hits keep coming for poor Volkswagen as we learn a wireless hack leaves 100 million vehicles vulnerable). Stay informed on trends, aware of opportunities and prepared to show the business news who the real force in the new tech market is: the channel.