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April 9, 2021
By Jason Meshberg
We are at a tipping point in the U.S. economy following the coronavirus pandemic that caused severe economic disruptions over the last year. However, the most recent projections from the U.S. Congressional Budget Office are encouraging. And, Gartner predicts that worldwide IT spending in 2021 should increase by 6.2% over the previous year.
These predictions help those of us delivering consulting and services feel more comfortable about the future, but this growth will depend on customers making investments. For the partner ecosystem, customers will want help deciding what to do next, and where their enterprises should focus. It will be an even more competitive market for everyone.
To succeed here, we must be able to reassure customers that their IT spending will lead to success over time. To do this, we should look at buyer behavior and what is motivating projects. This motivation generally falls into one of three groups: things they want to do, things they need to do and things they have to do.
The first category is the most forward-looking and aspirational. It includes projects that should deliver new revenue streams or implement digital services in new ways. These projects are exciting, and they have been a priority for the past year. For example, many companies had to develop new applications to cope with COVID-19.
Initiatives in this category can be difficult to sell if the business case isn’t clear. For example, if a technology or service is new and unproven in the market, building the case to invest can be harder as there are no prior examples. While we might want to carry out these projects, we have to find the right approach to deliver them.
Open source can help here, as costs are lower to acquire the technology as it is “free.” This makes getting something new up and running, especially projects that were previously unbudgeted, more accessible for more customers. Once a trial is running, these implementations can scale up and prove their worth. If your customers need support with projects like this, open source solutions should make it easier for them to keep pace with databases, analytics, and application component technologies.
The second category is less innovative and will make up the majority of IT project work as it involves reducing costs. These projects focus on finding opportunities to save money over time, which all organizations need to achieve. For many teams, implementing open source solutions can provide an opportunity to reduce spending.
For these projects, support and service are critical. Channel partners can offer consulting services that enable customers to look at moving to open source databases rather than running proprietary versions. This can help with both on-premises deployments and cloud installations, where spending is less predictable. For example, many IT teams are used to scaling by credit card in the cloud. They assume that the only approach is based on implementing the next tier of cloud service to solve their performance challenges. This isn’t always the case. Providing independent advice on how and where to save money on implementations can help.
Many organizations today lack specialists in-house with database skills and understanding. Providing support and advice in this scenario can be a good opportunity over time. Projects like this rely on strong relationships with customers, so look at your existing relationships and bring in …
… specialist expertise when you need it. IT teams of all sizes want to achieve better results at a lower price, so helping them is essential.
The last category covers projects that customers are obligated to carry out, and might include compliance or security projects. Investment in these areas is necessary to meet regulations, but it is often spent grudgingly. For the IT team, these projects lead to less personal development, but they have to be done.
These implementations tend to need support and service for years to come, which can make them attractive to channel companies. This can lead to increased business over time, particularly around security. Many data breaches are caused by poorly secured and poorly managed database instances. So, helping customers audit their implementations and put best practices in place could be a quick win. Taking money that has to be spent, and providing a return on that investment, is the quickest way to prove value.
Advice for keeping database implementations secure can lead to more opportunities around the efficiency and application side. While businesses might not have any choice but to carry out these projects, providing good results can lead to other, more innovative opportunities.
Whatever happens to the economy, there will be increased demand for support and services over time. Companies are choosing to run leaner teams and rely on external expertise for specialist skills.
In practice, this means that the demand for open source is unlikely to go away. For customer IT teams, core infrastructure areas such as databases are fundamental and will always require proper management. These customers will need support over time to achieve their goals, meet their cost-saving targets and keep their implementations secure and compliant.
Understanding buyer behavior and enterprise goals will enable the channel community to be more successful over time helping our customers successfully deliver these projects.
Read more about:VARs/SIs
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