Consumerization of IT: Channel Partners Need to Adapt or Die

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

• Public cloud services threaten traditional channels that have hitherto made their revenue through hardware and the service costs to design, install and maintain premises-based solutions.

• Integrators now need AV experience, networking and security expertise, plus the ability to code and customize apps to suit a customer’s workflow.

A persons’ consumer experience with technology continues to impact their expectations regarding the technology they use at work. This consumerization of IT (or CoIT) trend radically affects the collaboration and communications market, as vendors rapidly adapt to the new reality of a mobile-first, user-focused, and as-a-Service world. This highly influential trend predominated the recent InfoComm 2018 event in Las Vegas earlier this month, where over 200 collaboration and communications vendors exhibited and participated in educational sessions and panels. Partners that can’t adapt will be left behind and face irrelevance; consequently, this creates turbulence and opportunity for the industry and its ecosystem of suppliers.

InfoComm continues to focus on the emerging trends affecting the collaboration and communications market: the rapid adoption of cloud services, the rapid adoption of huddle room technology and finally, complementary meeting room technology such as interactive whiteboards (IWBs). It is becoming clear that a new type of channel partner is coming to the fore. IT departments are turning towards audio/visual (AV) integrators to assist them with their specific conferencing needs and InfoComm is an ideal event for vendors to recruit a new channel that brings expertise in not only hardware and software, but the physical meeting room environment and the room remediation needed to provide the optimal end user experience. With many collaboration and communications vendors now leading with public cloud services, this threatens traditional channels that have hitherto made their revenue through the mark-up on hardware such as servers and phones plus the service costs to design, install and maintain premises-based equipment.

As the industry continues to feel the repercussions of CoIT, a new breed of systems integrator will evolve. The new integrator will need AV experience, networking and security expertise, plus the ability to code and customize software to suit a customer’s workflow rather than changing a client’s workflow to fit the technology. As Louisiana State University business professor, Leon C. Megginson once said: “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”

 

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