Solution providers are facing five major challenges as they respond to changes in how customers acquire and consume IT, but it's nothing that a sense of partner community -- and a bit of help from distribution -- cannot overcome.
That's the word from Paul Bay, group president and executive vice president of Ingram Micro, who told channel partner attendees of the company's Ingram Micro One conference in Grapevine, Texas, that partners are facing scary times.
"But with this community of partners we have in this room, there is nothing we can't do," Bay said.
Channel partners can work together and with Ingram Micro to overcome problems caused by the conflict and disruption caused my major changes taking place in the industry, Bay said.
"Those words carry negative connotations," he said. "But I'm a half-glass-full-kind of guy. I see opportunity."
Bay outlined five trends impacting channel partners, and said that they were based on his own observations rather than on any research.
The first is connection, which includes such things as the Internet of Things, virtual reality, mobility, the cloud and other new ways businesses are reaching out to their customers. Making those connections will require partners help clients adopt new business models, which will require new services to succeed.
Such services, while offering huge profit potential, are difficult to build for businesses that have been more focused on transactional businesses. "But we have to do it," he said.
Ingram Micro has moved quickly to change its business model to meet such challenges, including the introduction of the Ingram Micro Cloud business unit, which currently hosts over 2 million seats, as well as its financing arm that can help partners work on cloud deals, Bay said.
The second major trend is convergence, which Bay said is driving consolidation at the vendor, the distribution, and the partner levels as companies scramble to build new expertise in such areas as artificial intelligence, 5G and SD-WAN.