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As CompTIA’s ANZ Channel Community continues to build momentum, it becomes increasingly important for members to be up to date on the most relevant regional trends in the market. In CompTIA’s latest IT Industry Outlook report, we detailed 12 trends which emphasise that 2019 is less about the ‘next big thing’ and more about consolidation and bringing the building blocks of technology together to form an overall solution.
The ability to identify important trends and build them into business practices can be critical for solution providers to establish or maintain leadership in their respective markets. Coincidentally, leadership was also a hot topic at the ANZ Channel Community’s recent meeting in Sydney, where Moheb Moses, co-founder and director of Channel Dynamics, and director of ANZ Channel Community, welcomed 120 attendees, and keynote speaker Brent Valle, founder, The Future Phase, shared personal stories demonstrating the important traits and values industry members should have as they move into leadership positions.
The discussion around leadership provided attendees with ideas to bring home and focus on identifying new business opportunities—perhaps around some of the trends outlined in the Outlook report. To help, we’ve identified six of the trends likely to be relevant for channel business in Australia and New Zealand:
The modern digital economy is based on three parts: cloud computing; edge computing; and 5G. Cloud brings greater control and flexibility to IT activities. Edge computing extends the principles of cloud computing from a centralised location to the places where data is being captured. And 5G networks provide fast and robust connections between each node.
Together, these three fundamentals signal a new way of thinking about IT applications. True transformation starts with rebuilding applications to take advantage of cloud computing’s unique properties, and this transformation will accelerate as those applications also factor in the location awareness of edge computing and the dynamic capabilities of 5G networking. Fully-evolved applications will be the mechanisms for new economic activity, and IT skills will likewise evolve to support the new structure.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, every object could become a computing device. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence (AI) will automate tasks to reduce complexity and scan the environment to understand context. The net result will be ambient computing, whereby activity that was once confined to a device will take place seamlessly with minimal user interaction. This will change IT support, which will move from tactical maintenance to strategic enablement.
An example of ambient computing in motion is smart lighting, which can automate itself, recognising when a device enters a room or operating on a schedule built through pattern recognition. For example, lights will turn on earlier or later as the seasons change and the sun is in a different position.
This, however, creates potential security risks as even the humble lightbulb becomes connected to the internet. This puts the onus on channel partners to help customers understand their security vulnerabilities and how to address them.
Distributed ledger technologies (DLT) such as blockchain introduce a new architectural approach using distributed networks and cryptography. The question remains whether this technology is strong enough to disrupt established models. However, the real opportunity could lie in developing economies where traditional models aren’t cemented. 2019 may see increased activity in this area but there may also be a backlash to the original hype around DLT.
The concept of stacks isn’t new but advances in areas like API-enabled platforms and containers for modular business processes are creating more sophisticated and efficient stacking of technologies to achieve end results. The process lets companies achieve a value that is far greater than the sum of its parts. This creates a significant opportunity for channel businesses to connect the dots for customers. Partners that can connect the dots for customers can differentiate themselves and drive new profit streams.
With so many options under the banner of emerging technology, the difficult choice for partners is which emerging technology to incorporate into their businesses. It’s important to understand that businesses can’t necessarily be experts in everything, so they’ll need to prioritise the resources and extra skills required to embrace emerging technology. This includes technical and sales training, and ensuring partners can collaborate with each other to maximise customer outcomes.
Digital partners need to learn from and partner with suppliers on the operational technology (OT) side of IT. These people are often not traditional IT people but come from a background of building maintenance, healthcare, fleet management, etc. The channel community therefore needs to partner with non-traditional IT partners to bridge the gaps.
ANZ is ahead of the game compared to global results. While software and applications is the fastest growing sector, 2019 is likely to prove a watershed moment for emerging technology. This is the year emerging technology will move past the ideation stage and start to generate revenue. With continuing demand for tech services, ANZ channel businesses are well-positioned to continue growing in 2019 and beyond.
Want to learn more about the business of technology in Australia and New Zealand? Join the ANZ Channel Community now and get access to relevant resources, content, events and more.