Channel must adapt to new conditions as market changes
Industry experts highlighted the need for the channel to adapt to the growth of cloud computing, during the launch of channel-dedicated title ChannelBiz.
NetMedia CEO Dominique Busso launched the new site in the Soho Hotel in the centre of London this morning to a crowd of industry figures, journalists and PR.
At the event Mike Magee, Editor in Chief of ChannelBiz, and editor of TechEye. highlighted the need for the channel to modernise itself in order to adapt to major changes.
“The channel has changed drastically,” Magee says. “Distribution is not dead but the nature of the business has changed.”
The channel now needs to show it can compete with services like Amazon, he says, yet there is a lack of inclination to embrace the possibilities of new technology in many cases.
Thierry Hamelin of NetMediaEurope says that adapting to the use of cloud computing is one of the ways in which the market will be forced to change. However it is not currently seen as a enough of a priority amongst some channel players.
According to research into the market conducted by NetMedia as part of launch 72 percent of businesses see staying competitive as the main challenge over the next few years. However Hamelin highlighted that only 7 percent seem to be aware of the challenges of shifting to use of cloud computing in future.
Many businesses do view the use of cloud computing in the coming years as beneficial, though many VARs and resellers are not yet impacted, Hamelin says.
Fears remain over the investment costs as well, he pointed out, and the fact that margins are not improved by cloud computing does not help either.
However the main opportunity lies in the ability to garner recurring sales, as well attracting new sales. Furthermore, possibilities are opened up for developing new channel partnerships.
Social media was also presented as a challenge to the channel staying relevant. Too often firms take to churning out info through Twitter or Facebook accounts, something that PRs and journalists at the event were well aware of. As Magee says, certain brand vendors are more innovative with their approach, and this lends to much better engagement with clientele and customers.
According to Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons and part of a panel at launch, the need for innovation is key.
With big changes to the channel, it opens up the space for smaller innovative firms to come in and shake things up. Like the Grateful Dead, Penn says, innovation is key, with the band journey lasting for 25 years because of a unique approach. Although he points out that many band members did in fact die on such a journey, the idea of adapting quickly holds true.
As he and Clive Longbottom, Quocirca Service Director and also part of the panel, agree, more of a consensus needs to be reached on cloud services.
Longbottom says that vendors are still confused about what cloud really is, like most people in fact – possibly even cloud firms themselves, and are struggling to come to terms with a cohesive approach.
“Its very early days, and we are still awaiting mainstream adoption,” Longbottom says, pointing out that currently “it’s a mess”.
* NetMediaEurope has struck a strategic relationship with TechEye.net
Interoperability is vital, on one hand, however too much could prove to stifle innovation, although this is an area which is open to debate.
With many challenges – and indeed opportunities – facing the channel, Magee says that the newly launched ChannelBiz will help highlight and analyse reaction to ongoing changes facing the industry.