20 Market Forces Will Impact Your Channel Strategy In 2020

We asked the honorees of the Channel Chiefs 2020 list to shed a little light on the market forces that are shaping their company’s channel strategies right now. Here’s what they had to say.

Maximum Impact

Cybersecurity threats, multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud computing, AI and machine learning, consumption and subscription-based pricing, edge computing and IoT: These are some of the mega trends that are driving the IT industry right now. They are also having a huge impact on IT vendors’ plans for working with the channel in 2020.

We asked the honorees of the Channel Chiefs 2020 list to give us their thoughts on what they see as the IT industry market forces that are having the biggest impact on their channel strategies right now and how they are responding. Here’s what some of them had to say.

APC by Schneider Electric

Shannon Sbar

VP, Channels

Edge computing and the move toward more distributed environments, in order to reduce latency and bring computing and networking closer to the consumer, is and will continue to be our biggest opportunity. We are well positioned to continue to capitalize on this market force as we continue to roll out innovative offers, programs and tools that allow our partners to differentiate their business and sell profitable solutions.

Arrow Electronics

Tamara Ells

Sr. Director, GM, Infrastructure Platforms

The rapidly accelerating move to consumption- and software-defined buying models in corporate America is having a big impact on Arrow's channel strategy for 2020. The new multi-cloud world has created a need for more sophisticated billing options, strong platforms to manage cloud transactions and technical support to help partners manage workloads. Arrow is enabling partners to meet that challenge with our ArrowSphere platform, financial options and overall focus on supporting partners in managing workloads and cloud billings from on-premises to hyperscalers.

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

Donna Grothjan

VP, Worldwide Channels, Alliances, SMB

Today, organizations increasingly want to focus on their core competencies and business outcomes, and so they're looking to outsource their IT operations. Given this, we are focused on enabling our partners to take advantage of this trend, regardless of their existing business models or capabilities. If a partner has the ability to provide cloud-managed networking as a service (NaaS), we have a program where they can deliver it to their customers under their own brand. Or, if they don't have these capabilities but want to provide them, they can offer our new HPE GreenLake for Aruba NaaS.

Cisco Systems

Oliver Tuszik

SVP, Global Partner Organization

The biggest market force is the shift to customer experience lifecycles. Customers want to see greater value from technology investments, and they want flexibility in how those solutions are consumed. We are helping partners shift their strategy and skills to focus more on software-led selling, enterprise agreements, cloud opportunities, programmability, and lifecycle services. Examples include the Software-led Selling Framework, Activate Workshops for cloud, Programmability Blitz training, Lifecycle Starter incentives, and Mentored Install Network Transformation.


Brad Schow

VP, Consulting Services

The money coming into our space from private equity is quickly maturing the business acumen of the channel partners. That money is funding smart owners that know how to run profitable businesses and allowing them to expedite growth in ways we haven't seen before. It attracts world class strategy and management skills that propel these businesses forward while not sacrificing the key to small business success - relationships. This is creating the need for everyone in the channel to "up their game" to stay competitive and seriously help their partners grow or be left behind.

D&H Distributing

Peter DiMarco

VP, VAR Sales

The market will continue to experience digital transformation, increasingly wanting to consume technology on an "as-a-service" basis. This allows partners to enjoy greater economies of scale and accelerated growth. It also allows partners to fold in their own managed and professional services with hardware solutions. Transactional cloud services will continue to proliferate in the business community, but those cloud infrastructures will still require end points, so hardware will remain a key part of the equation. With the advent of 5G access speeds upon us, the rate of digital transformation in business facilitated by the cloud will grow exponentially.


Rob Rae

VP, Business Development

Co-managed IT. We are starting to discover that the managed services market, which has traditionally been outsourced by SMBs, is trending upmarket to medium [and] large-size business. This is being done via co-managed IT, working with an in-house IT team. The plan is being implemented through both thought leadership conversations and presentations, as well as education, marketing and sales support, as well as some technological innovations.

Dell Technologies

Joyce Mullen

President, Global Channel, Embedded, Edge Solutions

The IT landscape's changing, the edge will be bigger than the cloud, and the complexity for our customers is increasing at a rate we've never seen before. This is a massive opportunity for our channel partners to use their solid understanding of customers' businesses and become their trusted advisors. For us, it's a great opportunity to empower partners with the industry's broadest and most innovative portfolio. In 2020, you'll see us invest another $4.5 billion in R&D and multi-millions into our channel programs, tools and processes so that partners remain passionate about leading with Dell Technologies in every single customer conversation.


Herve Tardy


Digital transformation has continued to establish itself as a pervasive force across all markets, and our integrated strategy to provide solutions both in the cloud, on-premise and across distributed sites has certainly paid off this past year. To accommodate for this change in 2020 and ensure we're even more equipped to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers, we've dedicated ourselves to providing a holistic power management integration that is compatible with most IT management systems and leverages technologies like Kubernetes or containers, which is a key differentiator for our business.


David Casillo

SVP, Global Channels, Enterprise Sales

Organizations are increasingly realizing that data governance is critical to the success of their business. And though regulatory compliance continues to be the top driver, governing data assets goes far beyond risk management and compliance. The savviest companies realize it also drives digital transformation, customer satisfaction and trust, better decision making, reputation management and analytics. This growing data governance trend creates a huge opportunity for Erwin partners and we ensure they are empowered, enabled and incentivized to deliver comprehensive, result-driven data governance solutions to our shared customers.


Kristi Houssiere

Sr. Director, National Channel

Keeping pace with the attacker innovation cycle: As an industry, we must innovate as fast or faster than the adversary. FireEye is the only cyber security company to offer combined benefits of world-class technology with front-line expertise and intelligence. Our world class threat intelligence powers the FireEye ecosystem to strengthen security solutions and programs our partners represent. We share our knowledge, insights and intelligence gained on the front lines of security with partners, as well as technology innovations we bring to market, so partners are prepared to deliver on the most important cyber challenges facing our mutual customers.


Jon Bove

VP, Channel Sales

As the use of business-critical, cloud-based applications and tools continues to increase, distributed organizations with multiple remote offices are switching from performance-inhibited wide-area networks (WANs) to software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) architectures. SD-WAN offers business application steering, cost savings, and performance for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, as well as unified communication services. Fortinet FortiGate Secure SD-WAN includes best-of-breed next-generation firewall (NGFW) security, SD-WAN, advanced routing, and WAN optimization capabilities, delivering a security-driven networking WAN edge transformation in a unified offering.


Timothy Puccio

VP, Global Channels, Alliances

Today's enterprises see five generations working simultaneously. Enterprises are evolving to equip the younger workforce with the resources they need to work efficiently. These app users will accelerate the shift from on-premise to cloud solutions. Value is the biggest differentiator in the crowded SaaS market. Partners are prioritizing cloud vendors who offer a Value-as-a-Service approach with a unique understanding of partner and customer challenges. Companies who stand out, listen and execute clear plans that align with partners and customers' business goals will find success. In 2020, Fuze will continue ensuring its channel program delivers these goals, providing values to partners.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Leslie Maher

VP, North America Channels, Ecosystem

Customers are on a digital transformation journey that is "edge to cloud" and they want to consume technology as a service. HPE GreenLake is central to delivering this experience and key to our success is enabling our channel partners to sell GreenLake to offer a consumption solution to our mutual customers.

Ingram Micro

Eric Hembree

Director, IoT

5G has become a catalyst for channel partners to believe that IoT is here and now, even though a large number of IoT solutions don't even leverage 5G. Partners seem to feel they go hand-in-hand or one is dependent upon the other. There's no doubt that 5G will spur wider IoT adoption and we're educating our partners that they don't have to wait for 5G to be successful in IoT today.


David Allen

Director, U.S. Distribution, Platform Sales

As we go into 2020, supply shortages continue to be a challenge. Demand in 2019 for CPUs (both client and data center) far exceeded Intel's ability to supply, and that has led to continued uncertainty in the market. Our response has been to up-level our communications to ALL partners and improve our escalation processes, so that channel partners have a better idea of what will be available, thereby helping them to adjust expectations accordingly.


David Willis

Corporate VP, U.S. One Commercial Partner

One of the biggest market forces impacting us today is the shifting of customer IT budgets and decisions to a distributed approach where lines of business play a greater role. This creates opportunities for partners to play an even greater role for vendors and customers by developing deep expertise and/or IP [intellectual] in a LOB [line of business] solution and driving that aggressively to market. To support our partners, we've built a technical enablement practice to ensure partner readiness. We're also creating opportunities for connection with our sales teams. At one event, we were generating 23,000+ partner/field connections, for industry and solution alignment.


Nick Heddy

Chief Revenue Officer

We see the union of two market forces having the biggest impact on our channel strategy: digitization of IT operations and the importance of the customer experience. The impact is forcing channel partners to think differently in terms of how they compete, and Pax8 will be there to help as our partners' wingman. Progressive partners and their customers are looking for ways to digitize their operations, offerings and customer relationships. Pax8 is there to provide education, enablement and serve as a guide in areas such as automated targeted marketing that will digitize how partners find new customer opportunities.


J.C. Collins

SVP, COO, Industries, Partners

We know companies must now address a more remote workforce and also tap into new sources of talent. Salesforce accordingly launched Partner Learning Camp and Partner Talent Programs. New IDC research emphasizes this need: Salesforce and our ecosystem of partners will create 4.2 million new jobs and $1.2 trillion in new business revenues worldwide between 2019 and 2024. Salesforce is driving massive gains for our partner ecosystem, which will see $5.80 in gains for every $1 Salesforce makes by 2024.

Silver Peak Systems

Michael O’Brien

VP, Worldwide Channel Sales

As enterprises embrace cloud-first business strategies, their dependencies on the cloud to connect users to applications is driving a sea change in networking. Networking is often a limiting factor in the rollout of digital transformation initiatives. Silver Peak enables partners to bring customers an offering that allows them to shift toward a business-first networking model, moving beyond the limitations of legacy WAN architectures. Silver Peak partners bring a wealth of industry experience, helping customers to identify an ideal deployment model from integration services to co-managed and fully managed services that ultimately returns a multiplier effect from their cloud investments.


Scott Barlow

VP, Global MSP

One increasing market force we've seen is MSPs themselves being the target of cyberattacks. It's extremely valuable for an attacker to get inside an MSP’s environment because they are then able to gain access to all of the MSP's customers. In 2020 Sophos will continue to innovate to help MSPs increase their own security posture as well as their customers'.

Tech Data

Linda Rendleman

SVP, Endpoint Solutions

Component constraints have had the biggest impact on our client business in the last year. We accommodate for it by working closely with our OEMs to plan for inventory buy-ins to ensure the best availability. We have also built great relationships with alternate component vendors to make up for shortages.

Ubiq Security

Steve Pataky

Chief Channel Officer

The relentless cyberattacks to steal data and all of the risk, regulatory, compliance and privacy implications this causes for companies of all sizes is the single biggest market force driving our strategy. We enable partners who have sold a lot of perimeter security solutions to help their customers now protect the data itself, not just the systems on which it is created and stored and render that data useless if it falls into the wrong hands. This creates a huge opportunity for trusted security solution providers to monetize their practices in an incremental way.


Bill Swales

VP, Channel Chief, Americas Partner Organization

Observing the consolidation of the partner ecosystem to being a private equity-managed organization has been an interesting market-force trend that has benefited VMware. For example, the integration of Forsythe with Sirius, Data Blue and Sovereign Systems into Ahead, and the numerous acquisitions that ePlus has made, make these partners a powerhouse in regard to new services capabilities that align with VMware's partner strategy.

WatchGuard Technologies

Michelle Welch

SVP, Marketing, Channel

As security becomes increasingly sophisticated and IT talent becomes harder to attract and retain, the appetite to outsource security to a trusted MSP is growing. Many of the MSPs of tomorrow are the VARS and break-fix VARs of yesterday. That means these transitioning companies need more support than ever from their vendors. This is why WatchGuard's 2020 strategy is centered around evolving our pricing, packaging, and procurement options to best suit MSSPs' desired business model, to investing heavily in MSSP training and continued education resources, and to the ongoing expansion of our MSSP-focused stack of highly profitable security services.