From remote work to digital transformation, the amount of change that has occurred in just a few years is stunning. And it’s not over yet. For partners in the channel, the coming new year looks unlikely to bring any respite from evolution.
Cloud spending is at record levels, partnerships and ecosystems are bringing players together, and data insights are shaping the market leaders of tomorrow. With so much to consider, let’s focus on three factors that are set to define the channel in the coming year and beyond.
Unlocking the value of data
As the world turns to the cloud, the value of data comes into focus. Unlike 10 years ago, collecting and collating data in the new digital paradigm is far easier. Instead, the problem today is an overabundance of information. Studies show that data management is a persistent issue for IT organizations with a full 96% operating at or over capacity. The challenge for channel players is deciding how to best leverage the data to guide decisions in the coming six, twelve and eighteen months.
Therefore, data is set to become an even bigger differentiator in 2022, with the businesses that can best extract value and channel it into their strategy ready to lead the market. This context provides an immense opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs). Forward-thinking providers are now having conversations with clients about how to convert their mountains of data into a potential treasure trove of new revenue.
Automation is emerging as an important function to unlock data insights and point businesses in the right direction. The ability of professional services automation (PSA) solutions to present operations in a single view helps streamline collaboration, communication and the exchange of information across all departments. This reduces the risk of data silos, which negatively affects the collaboration and productivity of any team. Moreover, by centralizing storage and integrating different systems and functions into one source using PSA software, MSPs can help save time while reducing the chances of miscommunication, errors and delays in project delivery.
Consumption and the cloud value proposition
Meanwhile, another important trend to watch in the new year concerns consumption. Especially in the context of COP26 and climate change, the global workforce needs to be more pragmatic about how much it consumes. Cloud is proving instrumental by simultaneously helping businesses to drive their strategy while adhering to environmental, social and corporate governance. For example, customers consume 77% fewer servers, use 84% less power and produce 88% less carbon emissions by using the cloud.
Coupled with the move to remote and hybrid environments as well as ongoing digital transformation trends, the value proposition of cloud is only growing. This view is backed by Gartner, which estimates global spending on cloud services will reach over $482 billion in 2022, up from $313 billion in 2020.
In driving down consumption, it will be interesting to see how companies leverage the cloud to achieve optimization. Undoubtedly, this will be a goal for managers seeking to remove bottom line unknowns and “what ifs.” Here, a PSA solution also holds promise. Whether workers are remote or in the office, these tools can help businesses identify pain points through contracts, billing and more. In turn, a PSA solution can calculate a dollar value to company time and drive improved decision making.
Working with partners to overcome barriers to entry
Third, partnerships are set to play a major role in the channel next year. This is because the way organizations onboard software has changed. Previously, companies would opt to either buy or build the solutions they needed. Today, both of these options are generally considered risky.
For example, the decision to build software from scratch now carries too many unmanaged costs for organizations. On the other hand, in terms of going down the acquisition route and buying, this poses too big of an upfront investment. Companies are instead preferring to invest their capital in skills and people, which does not leave much room for building or buying. As a result, we are seeing an increased appetite for partnering and as-a-service solutions.
Leaning into the consumption model, providers are enhancing such partnerships with ecosystems. These digitally-connected “one-stop shops” centralize ordering, fulfillment and billing, helping organizations facing the “buy vs build” dilemma to overcome the unknown barriers to entry and save time (and therefore money).
Going forward, this ability to connect and coordinate ecosystems will be paramount in facilitating successful partnerships. PSA software offers important functionality for providers to achieve an overview of their professional services businesses through a single pane of glass. It also enables geographic expansion with multi-currency and multi-language functionality, as well as VAT/tax regimes, and local date and decimal formatting.
And this is just the beginning
Accelerated digital transformation is impacting the channel in many more ways than the three covered here. Further, this pace of change shows no signs of slowing in 2022. For channel players, then, they must be flexible enough to move with the moment.
In this way, CloudBlue PSA continues to emerge as an essential tool. The solution integrates sales, finance and operational systems into one source for enhanced efficiency and communication across departments.
The all-in-one software solution provides full business visibility to identify pain points and generate actionable insights. Better yet, it helps to add value without extra administration.
In all, CloudBlue PSA helps managed services providers modernize their business, saving time, simplifying complexity and increasing efficiency. To learn more about CloudBlue PSA, contact us at PSA@CloudBlue.com.
About the Author: I have worked in the technology industry for 25yrs, the majority of my time representing global hardware and software vendors. I joined Ingram Micro 2yrs ago to head up our UCC practice for the UK to which we experienced significant growth and supported 1000s of organisations throughout the pandemic. What excited me about joining CloudBlue PSA was remaining being part of such a global presence within the Ingram Micro family, along with being part of the leadership team to drive a first class proposition into the markets. As organisations continue to realise time is a currency , operating costs and business efficiency is a constant along with cloud data consumption driving business decisions. Being part of a growing and significantly invested part of the business brings its challenges, but it also brings achievements knowing that what we are providing is complementing our customers vision! Follow Joe Casari on Twitter, LinkedIn or Website