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Channeling Trends for 2017

Between the U.S. presidential election, the summer Olympics in Rio and the death of John Glenn, this year has been an eventful one. And as 2016 comes to a close, I’d like to take some time to look toward next year and discuss what’s in store for 2017. As I write this, the uber trends for the industry are autonomous vehicles, big data, self-identification and selection, and telemedicine, all of which tie to network automation, security and bandwidth. So how will these affect the channel?


First, the way the channel sells security will change profoundly. For years, firewalls have been the backbone of network security, but with the growth of sophisticated threats, enterprises will look to bake security – both quarantine and enforcement – into every part of their network.


In 2017, customers will need partners with expertise to sell solutions that enable security throughout the network, down to the switch level, and ultimately down to the user level. This requires a change of approach, and partners will shift away from transactional customer interactions to become trusted business advisors who understand their customers’ businesses inside and out.


And this shift in the role of the channel isn’t specific only to security. The transition from simple hardware to ongoing services sales paired with continued cloud adoption will challenge enterprises throughout 2017, and organizations will look to the channel more than ever to guide them. Channel partners will move from providing break/fix cloud services to becoming embedded consultants for their customers.


Next, the channel will shift toward multi-party alliances built on use cases. As technology continues to evolve, customers need specialized technology that meets their specific needs. Therefore, the channel will turn away from depending on a handful of large organizations in favor of multi-party alliances that supply solutions designed for specific use cases, particularly when it comes to verticals like healthcare and finance.  


Lastly, marketing is going to get serious about metrics. For a while now, marketing has been shifting from “spray and pray” advertising to targeted and focused marketing campaigns that understand the customer journey (or pain points) and close the loop to ensure marketing dollars drive leads into the new business funnel. We’re bound to see more of this in the coming year.


That’s what I think we can expect in 2017. What were some of the key trends that affected your business in the channel this year and what are you expecting for 2017? Let me know in the comments.

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Thanks for your view on 2017 Matt!