You can't fight city hall. You have to pay your taxes, which are due Tuesday, April 18, this year. And you should never get involved in a land war in Asia. These are but a few of life's immutable truths.
When it comes to the channel, there are several that apply as well. At the recent 2017 Channel Partners Conference & Expo, CompTIA Senior Director and Penton Xpert Carolyn April shared her top five. Here they are.
Digital Marketing Agencies. Telecom Agents. Insurance Brokers. CPAs. SaaS ISVs. Click-to-Provision Cloud Providers. All of these and more are challenging VARs and MSPs today.
When asked in a recent CompTIA study what was their No. 1 reason for pessimism, more solution providers choose "new types of competitors" than any other threat.
To combat this, roughly a third of the existing channel is rebranding itself as a service provider and increasing its marketing budget.
When polled last year, only a third or so of the channel said it believes the cloud has had an "extremely positive" impact on its businesses. That's a significant drop since 2014 when 63 percent of respondents said the cloud was having that impact on their businesses.
"The channel is having a reality check when it comes to cloud," says April. "With more experience working with cloud, as with anything, all the various warts and downsides become apparent."
Her takeaway: This doesn’t mean the channel is rejecting cloud as a business model, but rather taking a more measured approach.
By 2022, more than half of the American workforce will be comprised of Millennials born between 1981 and 1997. A mere five years ago, they accounted for only a third of the workforce.
As for the Baby Boomers who helped create the channel, they will mostly be retired—long gone from influence in other words.
What this means is that a new generation of workers and entrepreneurs will take over the channel. But where they will come from is anyone's guess.
You men and women interested in tech careers no longer have to sign up to the tech industry to pursue their digital dreams; they can apply their skills elsewhere, which will put enormous strain on employers in the channel to find the talent they need to satisfy customers.
The era of being all things to all people has come to an end, April says. You thus have to find a niche to stand out in today's market.
Her advice? Define your business in one or more of three key areas.
"You can develop a vertical market expertise, focus on a particular customer segment or specialize around a particular technology," April says. "The companies that I know that develop repeatable sales around a defined niche tend to outperform their peers."
How are they doing it? Some have pursued their own IP development while others have pursued deeper relationships with key vendors.
Customers face enormous competition in just about any market you can imagine. So they are looking for help from those who can make them more agile and operate at greater speed.
Can you do that?
You can, April says, if you can provide respond faster, deliver on time and, moreover, apply technology to impact business outcomes.
"This goes above being able to keep networks running and providing disaster recovery. It means developing business expertise and deep applications skills," she says.
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