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The Channel in 2016: CIOs Will Be Fired, IoT Will Disappoint

Those predictions, plus why fewer companies will fit the “traditional reseller or solution provider" label.

Edward Gately

December 23, 2015

4 Min Read
The Channel in 2016: CIOs Will Be Fired, IoT Will Disappoint

Edward GatelyIf one word can best describe what’s likely in store for the channel in 2016, it’s evolution.

With help from Women in the Channel (WiC),  CompTIA and BetterCloud, Channel Partners looks at 2016 predictions for the channel, including a number of big changes, challenges and opportunities in the new year. With what’s in store in mind, the ideal New Year’s resolution may be to embrace all of the changes on the horizon.

The new year will bring more acquisitions as carriers and telecom agencies look to round out their portfolios, said Hilary Gadda, WiC’s co-president and TelePacific Communications’ director of telepartner channel.

“I also think we will start to see crisper definitions of ‘cloud’ from providers that will be less ambiguous ‘fluff’ and more specific product functionality focused on actual problems they solve for customers,” she said.

The new year will prompt an acceleration of women entering into entrepreneurship, trading careers at carriers or startup companies to become independent sales agents, Gadda said. These women are focused on large, complex opportunities and “seamlessly blending IT and telecom to fit their customers’ overall needs,” she said.

Also, with so many new technology companies opening their doors every day, one of the biggest challenges for channel partners will be vetting the opportunities, she said.

“Which providers will deliver?” she asked. “Which ones will pay? Which ones will be able to service their customers? And which ones will be around next year and the year after that? A fancy booth at a trade show does not mean you have the means to deliver great service 24/7/365.”

The new year will accelerate the “changing of the guard” from a channel perspective, said Jay McBain, member of CompTIA’s Vendor Advisory Council and ChannelEyes’ co-founder.

“Fewer companies will fit the traditional reseller or solution-provider label, as many have transformed, or born into, a recurring-revenue business model around managed services, cloud, software as a service (SaaS) integrations, line-of-business and vertical specialists,” he said. “I predict that upwards of 80 percent of technology decisions will come from outside of the IT department, and channel partners (and vendors) that understand the line-of-business software stack and have the integration skills will be big winners.”

The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to be a “shiny object” and, by the end of 2016, will continue to disappoint, McBain said.

“Like mobility and cloud before it, IoT will be a long journey and not the big bang many were hoping for,” he said. “The surprise hit in 2016 will be predict analytics and machine learning around big data. Vendors in every industry and all lines of business are now …

… building new software stacks that are driving new revenue opportunities, lowering costs and delivering business disruption in all segments and verticals. The new channel will play (and profit) successfully in this area.”

Many chief information officers and chief security officers will lose their jobs in 2016, fueled by more cyberattacks and negative headlines calling out companies for their inability to protect their data, employees and customers, said Paul Cronin, member of CompTIA’s Partner Advisory Council and Atrion’s senior vice president.

“Consultants, integrators and vendors who can help the CIO design an all-encompassing security business strategy that addresses the concerns of corporate executives and engages the business units will find themselves in the right place at the right time,” he said. “Also, the chief information officer will take on a new designation of chief innovation officer. They will be considered a catalyst for delivering high value to the business focused on speed and agility.”

The continuing shortage of technology workers is a troubling trend that must be addressed if businesses are to reap a full return on their investment in technology, said Randy Gross, CompTIA’s chief information officer.

“Current estimates place the number of IT job openings across the country at 1 million-plus, ranging from entry level (computer user support specialists) to advanced (network architects and information security analysts), and come from companies of all sizes (small, medium and large) and industries, from coast to coast and border to border,” he said. “How many IT job openings does your organization currently have? More importantly, what are you doing to fill those open positions?”

In 2016, SaaS vendors will focus more on partners to round out their offering rather than building everything themselves, said Michael Tweddle, BetterCloud’s chief strategy officer.

“Many of the major SaaS vendors offer great core services,” he said. “Salesforce.com offers a great CRM system and has become a platform partners can build on. ServiceNow has become a leader in the IT service management space and launched their own store at Knowledge15 to showcase how partners have extended the ServiceNow platform. And recently at Dropbox Open, it was clear Dropbox’s focus is on their platform and building on Dropbox Enterprise, while allowing their partners to fill gaps, as they announced a formalized partner program. In 2016, look to see more and more integrations between SaaS applications.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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