With 2020 in the rear-view mirror, many are excited to start fresh with a new year. Yet, it’s likely that VARs won’t see immediate relief in the new year. In fact, 2020 may have caused such a disruption that the trickles of effect will impact the IT channel for quite some time. Because the IT channel was forced to adapt, it opens up the door to new business models and opportunities in 2021, according to Dan Forbes, Senior Director of Cisco Field Sales at SYNNEX Comstor.
“There are two sides of the coin for me,” Forbes reflected on how 2020 has impacted the opportunities for VARs in the new year. “One side suggests that we are still going to be sidelined through parts of 2021 and with that, I fear many businesses and people that are just barely hanging on are going to be negatively impacted. That is so incredibly unfortunate.”
However, Forbes sees an opportunity for the IT channel, including distributors and VARs. “The other side of that coin represents the opportunity technology can play in 2021 as new business models emerge and our new normal path becomes clear,” he stated.
Embracing a Digital Economy
Forbes explained that suddenly, organizations of all sizes have found themselves “pushed into the digital economy.” For some organizations, adapting was a means of survival, while in other cases, organizations were already on the path and the global pandemic accelerated the timeline. Now, according to Forbes, “The opportunity in 2021 is to help our partners extend and expand that digital journey and ensure it’s stable and both secure and accessible.”
The Impact of Technology
Technologies that enabled connectivity remotely were key in 2020 and will continue in the new year. “We’ll continue to see Collaboration and Cloud expand,” Forbes said. He explained that both personally and professionally, people need to stay connected to data and to resources. “Most companies, it seems, are looking at hybrid strategies for back to work, so these areas of access and connection are important. It also goes without saying that security is going to continue to be of paramount importance, particularly in the areas of identity and authentication.”
Opportunities for VARs to Expand
In this new hybrid environment, customers are seeking solutions that address their business needs and often it crosses architecture. This presents an opportunity for VARs, according to Forbes. “We see far too many of our partners that single-stranded on architectures they support,” he said, noting a missed opportunity. “They have great enterprise networking numbers, but they don’t have a security practice, or they don’t have a cloud or collaboration practice so they may be missing some of the biggest market transitions in the past decade.”
Forbes admitted that a few years ago, he thought differently about specialization. In a different type of economy, specialization created opportunities. But in this current environment, partners may be missing out. “In the near term, overall partner health will be driven by the ability to weave solutions cross-architecture, manage them, and secure them,” Forbes predicted.
This re-evaluation of the market is core to success for the new year. “Any company that has weathered this ongoing storm has to be considering what the next one will look like and will have to re-evaluate to ensure viability in the long term,” Forbes concluded.