Tech Data Channel Link: 5 Partner Trends to Watch
Some familiar themes (mobility, cloud computing, Big Data, consumerization of IT, converged data centers) will surface at Tech Data Channel Link 2013 (April 10-12, Orlando, Fla.). There's even a rumor The VAR Guy may surface at the event — assuming our anonymous blogger truly exists. What questions and issues should VARs and channel partners raise during the Tech Data conference? Here are five of them.
First, a little perspective. Tech Data Channel Link ranks among the Top 100 Channel Partner Conferences that you should be tracking for 2013. Ironically, the event surfaces the same week as Ingram Micro Cloud Summit (April 7-10, Phoenix, Ariz), which is expected to attract roughly 900 attendees. Amid all the cloud computing and mobility hype, distributors such as Tech Data and Ingram Micro have been working overtime to remain relevant to VARs — while opening up new doorways into emerging markets.
At Tech Data Channel Link, VARs and MSPs should keep these five questions and themes in mind:
1. Mobility: Sure, sales of smartphones and tablets continue to climb. But most channel partners are still trying to figure out how to monetize mobility trends. Among the key questions: How to generally monthly recurring revenue (MRR) from mobile device management (MDM), mobile applications management (MAM), product sourcing and activation, among other areas. Source to Know: Joe Quaglia, senior vice president, U.S. Marketing and president, Tech Data TDMobility.
2. Cloud Computing: Tech Data's TDCloud initiative has shown signs of progress in recent months. Instead of pitching itself as a pure Cloud Services Brokerage, Tech Data is positioning itself as an educator — offering a cloud playbook to partners. But how many Tech Data partners are generating recurring revenue from the cloud? Sources to Know: Bharath Natarajan, director of product marketing, Cloud and Software Services at Tech Data; Stacy Nethercoat, vice president of Product Marketing, Software and Cloud Services at Tech Data.
3. Big Data: It continues to generate Big Hype in the IT channel. But The VAR Guy remains a little skeptical. The reason: Only a small subsection of VARs and integrators mastered business intelligence and business analytics. It seems like you need those skills — plus social media skills — to get your arms around Big Data solutions for customers. How many partners will make a successful transition into that market? The VAR Guy suspects it's less than 5 percent of the channel. Source to Know: Tech Data CIO John Tonnison.
4. Consumerization of IT: This gets back to both the cloud and mobility trends. The big question: Can VARs help customers take back control of (A) mobile endpoints and (B) rogue cloud deployments. With that in mind, partners should poke around to learn how TDCloud and TDMobility will potentially converge in the years ahead. After all, they'll ultimately leverage the same underlying architecture, The VAR Guy has heard. Sources to Know: Natarajan and Quaglia.
5. Converged Data Centers: You've heard the pitch. Servers (compute), storage and networking will converge in the data center. Will channel partners continue to mix and match solutions? Or will the data center convergence lead to single-vendor solutions? Hmmm… Sources to Know: Angie Beltz, vice president of product darketing, Cisco Solutions Group, Tech Data; Sheri Hedlund, vice president, HP Solutions, Tech Data.
Got a question for Tech Data? Want to potentially meet The VAR Guy at the conference? Feel free to post a comment below or tweet @thevarguy.