2022 IT Channel Predictions: Adaptation Following Upheaval


Last year, much like the year before, was defined by a single word: Change. The changing needs of consumers from the highest level of government down to the individual created a demand for innovation. Thankfully, considering the many innovations over the past two years, the IT channel rose to the occasion to help fill those needs. But how are those needs evolving in the coming year? What can VARs and Cisco partners do to best prepare and create the solutions that their end-users need?

What we’ve learned in the midst of disruption is that there will always be a drive to find a new normal. It is hard to say anything is for certain today, but as more organizations commit to the hybrid work model, and as more IT producers embrace Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS), 2022 will be a year of adapting to our current environment. To better understand what the channel is anticipating for the new year, EDGE360 looked across the entire IT channel to find out more about what the future has in store. Below are some of the more compelling 2022 IT channel predictions on the horizon.

Channel predictions 2022: The race to adapt
Sherweb’s Michael Slater noted that though last year’s predicted motto, “adapt or perish,” is still applicable, the new motto is “get efficient or go home.” With more organizations looking to embrace the future of IT, there will no doubt be many more IT channel participants in the coming years. Finding and providing stopgap measures to meet customer needs now will no longer be enough to guarantee their business in the long run. Instead, channel partners must fulfill future needs as their customers continue their digital transformation journey.

Slater offered up three observations to back up his 2022 channel predictions. First, the increasingly distributed workforce is changing the way that companies are fundamentally operating. The second is the increasing demand for a small pool of talented individuals, which partners can take advantage of by providing sought-after services to companies unwilling to pay an individual for it. Finally, Slater views the rise of automation as the next logical step for efficiency as smaller workloads can be automated, freeing employees to focus on more profitable tasks. Ultimately, an IT channel partner who can work around these needs will be able to succeed easily in the 2022 channel.

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Cisco: Driving Partner Growth and Defining the Future of Hybrid Wor
John Brookbank, VP of Americas Distribution at Cisco, understands that while 2021 was the year of demonstrating “perseverance and grit,” now it’s time to adapt. That means a continued focus on driving partner growth while offering the tools, training, and incentives needed to help define and deliver on the future of hybrid work solutions. “Our focus is on driving partner growth through integrated platforms and XaaS while expanding opportunity in our Routes-To-Market,” he told us in a recent interview. While a majority of global IT leaders are looking to empower their distributed workforce with seamless access and a collaborative experience, Brookbank predicts a growing demand in the areas of security, control, and governance across devices, networks, cloud, and applications.  

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Nutanix: 2022 channel prediction
The channel is changing because of several trends, each of which reveals that adaption is playing an outsized role in many organizations’ priorities. Nutanix’s Adam Tarbox recently described how taking advantage of these trends will ultimately put partners in a position to succeed in the new year.

Tarbox outlined five key themes that emerge when considering the trends holistically, three of which are particularly relevant to partners. The first is to identify the ways that partnering can be updated to the modern needs of the end-user. The second is to find ways to enable more telemetry for end-users. The third is the move to services. Together, each demonstrates that there is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to partnering.

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Jay McBain: 10 Channel Predictions For 2022
Jay McBain, who works as an analyst for Channel, Partnerships, and Ecosystems for Forrester, recently joined a podcast on ChannelJourney and highlighted his Top 10 channel predictions for 2022. McBain revealed that the fundamental changes affecting the channel are all rooted in ongoing digital transformation. While not surprising, he goes further with his insights and details just how he envisions the digital transformation will evolve into the new year.

Of his 10 predictions, several highlights the changing nature of the IT channel and what it means for partners looking to succeed in it moving forward. The first is that current business models will become “unrecognizable” based on conversations with many CEOs in the channel. Secondly, distributors are seeing increased competition and will likely need to adapt to better compete with new entrants. Finally, McBain highlighted the soon-to-be mass exodus of tech employees looking for other opportunities. While each of these three alone is enough to indicate further upheaval in the IT channel, combined with the full list, McBain’s predictions show a potential market in which prepared partners can thrive, if they can adapt.

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