There is no doubt that new technologies such as cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and managed IT services in general are changing the distribution model, but this isn’t to say there is no need for channel partners.
This is according to Moheb Moses, CompTIA director Channel Dynamics and ANZ community director, who says despite the rise of these new technologies and solutions, distribution can potentially provide a broad range of value-adding services to help partners look after their end customers.
Moses says, “The IT delivery model is changing. On the surface, it might not seem that distribution is needed with cloud and other advanced technologies, but there are areas where it still plays a valuable part in the solution delivery mix.
“Management of the new technology - that is bringing change to the IT delivery model - is often quite complex. This is one area that distributors can provide value to the deployment of such solutions. Services like unified billing platforms, for example, can be extremely expensive for partners to set up, but are ‘business as usual’ for most distributors.”
He says for managed service providers (MSPs), this means leveraging the distributor’s capabilities to reduce cost. For example, distribution offers a number of ‘as-a-service’ options (in addition to traditional hardware and software sales) such as engineering and design, mobile device management, cloud storage and programmes, and application engineering. These are offerings that the MSP could provide to their customers, but the distributor is in the background doing the actual work, Moses says.
For vendors, the key challenge to making the most of distribution providers is to understand the distributor’s offerings and how they augment the vendor’s solutions. For instance, the IoT offers the promise of changing everything, presenting opportunities to providers who support hospitals, retailers, and other industry verticals. However, the complexity of these solutions means that few partners are able to do it all themselves, he says.
Moses says, “Distribution remains a strong option for channel partners and vendors. Today’s distributors can complement providers’ offerings, in order to help them deliver everything they need to properly service their clients.”