If one were to describe the year 2016 in a single word from a channel perspective, perhaps ‘disruptive’ would be the right term. Whether it’s about high profile acquisitions, spin-offs or roll out of new channel programs, the year brought a lot of interesting updates for partners. However, among all the important talks, the ‘Digital Transformation’ remains at the center of discussion in the industry. While technology majors are already betting big on the buzzword, channel players too seem to be excited to ride on the new wave digitization.
In recent years, business expansion and customer wins are not the only thrust areas of partners for their next fiscal year. Digital strategy is rapidly replacing the traditional go to market strategy of channel organizations today. Preparing the business for the digital journey is what channel partners are seriously aiming at in 2017.
What Makes Digital So Critical?
No doubt digital platforms are the most effective vehicle to connect with the masses, it is also a great way to generate qualitative leads. It is very important for partners to create their niche in the crowded market and hence, channel organizations are moving beyond the traditional IT practices and leveraging digital tools to better connect with their target customers.
“New generation is more tech savvy and we are exploring using Mobile and other communication devices. We are also exploring how we can build a stronger social media presence to attract the talent”, said Santosh K, EVP & CEO (Managed Infrastructure and Cloud Solutions) at Futurism Technologies.
Partners are also increasingly moving from push marketing to pull marketing and shifting more towards social media platforms. “We are going to pitch the customers through digital platforms and we already have digital sales and marketing plans in place for the next year. We are going to have pull marketing instead of push marketing, where customers will reach to us through online platforms. We will also focus on generating leads through digital tools”, said Kshitij Kotak, Chief Innovation Officer at Grecells BlackBox : Data Safe.
Exploring New Areas Of Business
Channel organizations are rapidly exploring new technology domains and segmenting the business for better scale of operations and growth. The trend will continue in 2017 as well. However, channel organizations are now more focused on the target audience they want to tap and the verticals in which they intend to pitch their solution offerings.
“Digital cyber security will be market trend in 2017 and we are already working in that area. Networking and mobility are the two areas we will make inroads in 2017 and we will majorly target specific segments such as BFSI, which will give us better growth in the next year”, said, Ratna Singh, Chief Operating Officer at Jainam Technologies.
As the government is pushing for cashless economy, security of digital wallets will going to be a huge growth area for security solution providers. However, right now not too many partners are exploring this segment. But as the digital economy takes off in the country, security of digital wallets will be a big boon for MSSP partners in 2017.
“Security of smart devices will play a critical role in the digital economy in 2017. We will emphasis on educating our customers in accessing digital technologies securely. We are also exploring the possibility of collaboration with e wallet companies. There is a huge scope for SIs like us in this space. The partners should focus on how can they create a solution for their customers digital journey”, said Vimesh Avlani, CEO at Graftronics.
All Efforts For Better Profits
The ultimate aim of any business strategy is to drive better profitability and sustainability in the business. Hence, both the bottom line as well as top line remain critical in partners’ goes to market plans. Along with profitability and margins, partners are also exploring new business collaboration and inroads in new markets in 2017. Talent management is also one of the key areas for channel organizations. Hence, partners will be focusing on tapping qualified workforce in the next fiscal.
“We are going to look at the bottom line for better profit margins. We will also look at specific segments for better business opportunity. Next year, we will focus on expanding our reach and to enable that we are in the process of hiring sales and technical team. We will also tap BFSI, ISP and large scale industries and build a strong technical backup around our solution offering”, said Singh.
Similarly, Grecells BlackBox : Data Safe is also quite aggressive on its business expansion plans next year. The company which is transiting from a hardware based solutions to software offering is intend to launch its flagship software Blackbox Data Safe meant for SMEs and Enterprises. “We will be launching Blackbox Data Safe software, probably in the first quarter of next fiscal. We have appointed three partners who will offer this software to end users. We also intend to commence our BPO in Pune by the end of next year”, said Kotak.
Channel partners are quite optimistic about 2017 and hope that the fiscal year will bring new business prospects for them. However, at the same time, they will have to understand and acknowledge the significance of transformation in their business as per the changing needs of the industry.