We recently had a chance to sit down with Dan Forbes, Comstor Director of Business Development, to discuss some of the biggest trends he saw in the VAR space in 2017. Dan says consolidation and cybersecurity were some of the biggest trends, yet 2017 was the year cloud finally was realized for most organizations. Continue reading to find out what else made headlines in 2017.
EDGE360: What were some of the big trends you saw this year?
Dan Forbes: 2017 was an interesting year for our business and our customers. Overall, I think there is a changing mindset around hardware, annuities, software, and cloud but I think the promise of the cloud was realized during the year. We’re seeing the compute platforms take off and have been talking about cloud for years. It’s finally become a bigger part of the picture in terms of what we see and our partners see. Finally, Cisco has been very public about moving from hardware to software and annuity-based revenue streams, so I think we’ll continue to see more with annuities in the future.
EDGE360: Can you talk more about annuities?
Dan Forbes: One of the reasons annuities is gaining traction is because of the recurring revenues they provide. It’s been a mainstay of the software world for many years. When you start talking about hardware-centric companies like Cisco, most people thing about SmartNet and branded services, but there’s more to it than that and we’re seeing more focus and attention on this type of service moving forward. Cloud is what’s really driving the conversation.
EDGE360: What advice do you have for VARs in speaking with customers as we enter this new age of the cloud?
Dan Forbes: The VAR market is interesting because there are two sides to the space. There are companies that have been doing business for many years and date back to the early days of the channel, which still operate much like telecom companies. Then there’s the other side of the industry, where more nimble companies are emerging with a different mindset when it comes to approaching the customer. They are developing new business models and are working with their customers to offer new solutions. Meanwhile, bigger, slower companies haven’t embraced change and are unable to meet the demands of their customer base. I think the lesson is that we have to think about where our business will be in five years and look ahead – rather than looking at what has gone on the past five years and focusing on that.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about what you saw in 2017?
Dan Forbes: Cybersecurity continued to be a valid concern in 2017 with all of the cyber-attacks that occurred across so many industries. Consolidation was big in 2017 and is something we’ll continue to see. Our team saw it firsthand with the SYNNEX acquisition, yet there were other major acquisitions by distributors recently. We see this continued consolidation in the VAR space. Some of the regional partners are becoming part of a collective national business, so local competition is moving to national. Organizations that have been doing the same thing for many years are finding themselves unable to move to new business models and I think that’s what sparking some of this consolidation.
Want to know what’s coming in 2018? Stayed tuned to EDGE360 as we explore predictions for the New Year with our industry experts and contributors.