With all the talk about digital transformation going all around the world, it is important for the channel community in the region to be transformed digitally by embracing the changes and charting out the role for themselves in the world of digital transformation.
Discussing about the role of channel in today’s scenario, Omar Sati, Executive Board Member at AppCentrix International said, “Digital transformation has placed new pressures on distributors, SIs, resellers, and solution providers. Only those flexible enough to adapt to evolving delivery models and accelerating time to market for their solutions and services will thrive.”
The IT channel needs to reinvent themselves, adopt newer technologies and business models to stay viable in the market. “This means that partners will need to prepare themselves with new skills around innovative solutions such as cloud, IoT, Big Data, AI and blockchain etc.., new types of payment terms and new types of engagements.” said Megha Kumar, Research Director at IDC MEA.
Some vendors have spotted the opportunities early and started focusing on digital transformation as well as started working towards upgrading their channel yo meet such demands. Xerox is one of such vendors that took the lead and incorporated required provisions in their new Global Partner Program. The General Manager for Xerox Emirates, Chris Govier explains “New partner program helps our channels to be fully onboard with digital technologies that help their customers to run more sustainable and cost-effective operations. With new opportunities presented by the digital transformation trend, channel partners can widen the scope of solutions they offer to their customers and add value to their clients’ operations.”
As the market grows for digital transformation, the opportunities will be immense for channel but partners need to hone up their skills. IDC’s Kumar believes that “Channel partners that are focused on skills be it integration, consulting or training around cloud, big data, AI, security and mobility clearly stand to gain in the whole run. Partners that are able to showcase use cases and value in the solutions will be preferred over others.”
Peter Hunt, Systems Channel Sales Director, Middle East and Africa, Oracle said, Channel partners can enable businesses to develop new capabilities and streamline existing business processes to create efficiencies. For instance, when it comes to cloud solutions, channel partners can offer customisable options that blend infrastructure, platform, and complete “cloud-native” applications to the customers. For partners, Oracle has all the possible deployment models and incorporates new transformational technology into its offerings making it the best vendor to partner with.”
From a security vendor point of view, Zacky Vaz, Regional Channel Manager, Fortinet said, “As organizations pursue digital transformation and adopt new technologies and business processes, security issues are on the rise. This presents partners with the opportunity to help customers secure their digital infrastructure with specific solutions. Digital transformation will continue to impact how organizations approach business and technology. As their networks become more complex, organizations must adjust their approach to security to ensure there are no gaps in protection.”
Vaz further added, “Partners play a crucial role in advising end-users, and providing them with guidance to follow security best practices, such as integration and automation, so organizations can reduce the security challenges and stress that accompany digital transformation.”
Similarly Govier from Xerox pointed out that “In its narrowest sense, ‘digital transformation’ means ‘going paperless’. More broadly, it means using digital technology to operate more efficiently while removing costs and wastes from operations. This is also a chance for channel partners to engage with their customers in new ways which open new opportunities in the marketplace. In between, there’s a whole spectrum of ways that channel partners can adopt and utilize digital technologies to offer so much more than a printer to their customers. The conversation is no longer about hardware and consumables, but many other document management solutions that are designed to drive more revenue for both channels and their clients.”
Talking about the role of channel in digital transformation, Mathew Thomas, Managing Director, Middle East, Turkey and East Africa, HP said “With 90% of our business conducted through the channel, digital transformation provides an opportunity for HP work with our channel partners to adapt new technologies to enter new markets, grasp new opportunities, and be more agile. It ranges from office of the future, to revolution in industrial manufacturing to new opportunities for brands to use our graphics products.”
The industry has seen momentum and thrust is coming from different industry verticals for digital transformation. The business for Oracle is driven by government, telecom, finance, banking, healthcare, construction, energy, and retail among other. And, Fortinet finds opportunities rising from governments, large enterprises, and telco’s.
According to AppCentrix, a managed services company discovered the customer-oriented sectors such as BFSI contributing for them in the region. While, HP discovers a big shift in digital manufacturing with their 3D portfolio to transform that segment of the industry.
In Xerox’s experience some governmental organizations have taken the lead in adopting digital transformation initiatives – such as ‘Dubai’s Paperless Strategy’ which aims to minimize the need for paper transactions for customers of the government of Dubai by 2021.
Most of the players agree that it is not just one kind of partner that can suffice the demand, but depending on skills, knowledge and specialization the market offers opportunities to a wide variety of partners.
As per IDC’s Kumar, “Organizations should seek partners that are understand how the technology will enable the business. Partners that have a consultative approach to selling and have industry expertise. Increasingly, organizations seek smaller partners or even start ups since they are far more agile and specialized.”
Xerox enable its partners by providing them with necessary tools, solutions and training that enables them to become digital transformation experts and allows them to create digital transformation opportunities for themselves as well as for Xerox.
On other hand, HP likes to work with the best talent to collectively deliver the best solutions and outcomes to our customers. Commenting on the choice of partners, Thomas from HP said, “In the 3D printing space, we’re partnering with companies like Jabil, Johnson & Johnson, BMW, SAP and Siemens, to accelerate 3D printing technology and drive our end-to-end manufacturing ecosystem – helping companies transform their business for the future of industry.”