The UK channel has given an insight into the evolution of the industry in CRN's research report on the future landscape leading into 2020.
The European Channel in 2020 event that CRN ran with the support of Agilitas brought some key thinkers together to discuss what is on the horizon for the channel.
The report, which was an amalgamation of the event and the research, is now available to view in full.
While last year's CRN On event hinged on the themes of people, technology and finance, the supporting research unveiled three new themes which have formed the discussion this year - disruption, collaboration, and innovation.
Respondents were asked which of today's disruptive technologies will become the norm by 2020. For most of our questions it was possible to pick more than one answer, meaning that the replies do not add up to 100 per cent. For this question only two areas grabbed the attention of the majority of respondents, with 68 per cent backing the Internet of Things (IoT) and 54 per cent going for artificial intelligence (AI). Following those, 49 per cent felt that 3D printing would establish itself by 2020.
There was then a cluster of technology areas selected by around a third of survey participants: hybrid cloud computing (37 per cent), virtual assistants (35 per cent), wearables (31 per cent), smart workplace (31 per cent), machine learning (28 per cent), personal analytics (28 per cent) and virtual reality (27 per cent).
Respondents were also asked what they thought will be the new technology areas that will emerge to disrupt the industry and which business models will emerge to dominate in the next three years. The results can be found in the full report.
Moving on to the second research theme around collaboration, the next question asked respondents with which types of channel organisations they have increased collaborative ties.
A traditional pattern played out in the replies to this question, with 66 per cent naming vendors as the tightest collaboration tie. Further back were distributors, with the majority not collaborating with the channel middle-men, as just 44 per cent selected them.
System integrators managed to land 32 per cent of the vote, with consultancy firms getting 23 per cent, MSPs managing 22 per cent and service providers also getting 22 per cent.
Next in line was born-in-the-cloud firms, with 17 per cent of respondents picking them. There was a slightly surprising last-place finish for VARs, with just 10 per cent collaborating within the channel.
Respondents were also asked the ways in which collaboration will change the IT channel in the coming years.
Respondents were also asked which types of innovation projects they are currently planning. The clear winner, with a 53 per cent slice, was cloud-enabled services. Beyond the more obvious cloud focus were three closely rated options: introducing more disruptive technologies with 39 per cent, digital transformation within your own organisations at 34 per cent, and the transition to becoming an MSP also at 34 per cent (though marginally lower when figures are not rounded up/down).
Grabbing support from 26 per cent of respondents was building your own intellectual property, and with 18 per cent was shifting marketing from traditional techniques towards content/social media/ thought leadership.
The bottom three selections were: more focus on net promoter scores and customer satisfaction with 16 per cent, taking an ‘open-book' approach to your contracts with clients so they can see exactly how much margin you are making at 12 per cent, and lastly pursing a 100 per cent services model which was selected by 10 per cent.
Respondents were also asked to outline any innovation projects they are working on that will come to fruition in the next three years and which innovations will have the biggest impact on the channel by 2020.
For the full replies and analysis, head to the report here.
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