The year 2020 is finally over, but the lingering effects of the pandemic will likely remain in the 2021 IT trends. In the new year, many organizations are seeking to find a new and sustainable normal among the IT trends. While many scrambled to adopt new technologies to enable remote environments, the new year will require a re-evaluation of solutions against desired business outcomes.
Joe Vlajcic, Director of Cisco Customer Experience for SYNNEX Comstor, knew long before the move to remote workplaces that customer experience would become a major focus in 2020. As a longtime customer experience professional, he understood that that the IT Channel would need to prioritize how to deliver to its clients.
Now with the new year ahead of us, Vlajcic spoke with our team about new customer expectations. With these changes ahead, the IT channel must embrace a new customer experience approach. Vlajcic highlights how the difference between surviving and thriving still comes down to providing the product that customers want. Read his thoughts below:
EDGE360 Editors: Given the drastic changes of 2020, where do you see the opportunities for VARs in 2021?
Joe Vlajcic: This is going to be a year of reflection for the IT world. We’re starting to see some of this already in various 2021 IT trends. There were a lot of technology purchases made in haste in 2020 as everyone tried to figure out how to keep the lights on during a pandemic. Most of that spend went into enabling and connecting end-users. Once the dust started to settle and it was clear that remote work was here to stay, we saw companies stepping back and saying “Okay, now how do I go back and secure this? How do I transform a crash work-from-home program into something sustainable?”
I think the opportunity for VARs is to help customers get back into planning instead of just reacting.
EDGE360 Editors: How do you see a services approach evolving in the new year?
Vlajcic: Services, across every part of the lifecycle, are going to be in demand: Advisory, professional, managed, and support services are all needed to put customers on surer footing.
In early 2020, everyone ran at breakneck speed to set up projects that they thought would be temporary – that we’d have to close offices for weeks or maybe months, and then everything would be back to normal. We now know that we’re not going back, we’re going forward to a “new normal.” Organizations everywhere are going to need help to get there.
EDGE360 Editors: For VARs looking to grow their Cisco practices in 2021, what should they be thinking about and working toward this year?
Vlajcic: I predict “consolidation” is going to be an extremely important word among the 2021 IT trends. Lots of customers made purchasing decisions based on short-term needs, availability of scarce stock, and assumptions about how 2020 would progress. A VAR can set themselves up for success by being the company that helps customers sort through their inventory and optimize it.
Build a process to look at a customers’ hardware, software, and maintenance with an eye to “right-sizing.” Trim back unnecessary vendors and move whatever you can into easier, more predictable buying models. If you can help bring simplicity and sustainability back to COVID-rattled organizations, you’ll find your services in great demand.
EDGE360 Editors: How can VARs take advantage of the resources SYNNEX Comstor offers? Any new opportunities or updates on the horizon?
Vlajcic: SYNNEX Comstor has a great vision for Cisco partners in 2021. A lot of customers are looking at the wild ride of 2020 and wondering how they get back to predictability. SYNNEX Comstor has architecture programs that cover everything in the portfolio, a Cisco EA Management platform to build custom Enterprise Agreements, and a Customer Experience team to help you get the most out of your Cisco sales.
Whether you’re helping customers reduce their spending, consolidate security tools, or achieve their business outcomes, SYNNEX Comstor has the resources for you.
EDGE360 Editors: Fill in the blank: 2021 will be the year of [Blank]. How would you summarize your predictions for 2021 IT trends?
Vlajcic: Consolidation. Lots of resellers saw a “sugar rush” of buying in response to the pandemic. Customers are going to be re-evaluating those decisions in 2021. Above all, they’re going to looking for partners that can reduce complexity while still preserving the value of investments they made in 2020.
Offerings like Cisco’s Secure Remote Worker solutions are great examples of this – being able to offer robust connectivity that is still secure and flexible is the kind of solution that customers will be seeking out.