by Matt Hurley, Corporate VP, Global Channels and Field Marketing
The end of the year usually means that those of us who should know better will still take a pass at predicting what will come for the new year. Okay, so we’re already well into the new year, but so what? Here goes anyway. I’m going to lay out what I believe will shape the world of the channel in 2016.
I see a few trends developing in 2016.
First, traditional customer premises equipment (CPE) will come under increasing pressure as software transformation greatly reduces, and in some cases eliminates, the need for devices on site. In 2015, we saw the rise of the virtual data center; in 2016 we will see its operationalization in the enterprise.
Next, the channel will move toward openness and customizability. The channel will get even more selective with their partnerships, only aligning with vendors who enable them to offer best-of-class solutions and custom offerings for their customers.
Customers will demand not to be locked in, looking to IT vendors to help them with flexibility for future industry shifts. The channel will follow this trend, catering to customers with open solutions that are seamless, scalable and flexible to customers’ business needs.
Professional services and DevOps will take a front seat for channel partners as customers look for turnkey solutions and the ability to customize their environments. Vendor innovation will still be key, but channel partners will need to place additional emphasis on customer-driven innovation as well.
Finally, software transformation will begin to gain a foothold in the networking industry, as customers look to automation as the next cost reduction lever to eliminate legacy IT.
One more. In 2015, we saw the adoption of SDN and NFV grow in small- and medium-size enterprises. In 2016, the channel will continue its move to open, integrated and seamless stack solutions, making SDN and NFV solutions more accessible than ever before through pre-designed and tested solutions, purpose-made for verticals.
Okay, that’s what I think 2016 will look like. Let me know what you think. Agree? Disagree? I’d like to hear your comments.