IT decision makers need to stop thinking of IT as a necessary evil, and start treating it as a strategic asset, Insight’s EMEA boss has stated.
Speaking to CRN about the global VAR’s plans for 2015 and looking back over the year, Wolfgang Eberman, EMEA president at the firm, said a partner’s key role was to remain a trusted advisor to customers and educate them on the benefits that investing in new technology wil bring.
Eberman took over the president's role in January this year after a 22-year stint at Microsoft.
“The future of IT depends on companies playing a trusted advisor role and changing the way customers view IT. The industry faces a challenge over this, IT needs to be a strategic asset, and we need to convince customers they have to capitalise on their investments and address business problems by investing in solutions to complement their existing IT infrastructure.
“It is about moving from a Capex to an Opex model and managing that need as a trusted advisor. That is the opportunity for growth. We want to be recognised as the preferred partner of choice when it comes to standard IT supply,” he added. “It is a key investment for customers, and procurement is about listening to their needs.”
Eberman stressed the importance of hardware and software sales, as well as a focus on services.
“It is important to get a balance, and this is reflected in our UK Q3 results. It is well balanced between hardware, software and services. We overachieved [in the UK] against all our targets and really grew the business in all segments – enterprise, public sector and SMB.”
However cloud and services is key to growth, he explained.
“We very much believe in the hybrid cloud world,” Eberman said. “It is not about rip and replace, it is about building on the investment that has been done that still needs to be leveraged and we want to work with vendors that make this possible.”
And when thinking about cloud, he explained Insight has a two-pronged approach.
Firstly, the focus on the modern workplace go-to-market model – increasing productivity in the work force and attracting the next generation of talent through the use of UC, collaboration and use of modern devices.
Secondly, he explained, it was about the hybrid cloud infrastructure.
“Windows 2003 Server is entering EOL next year and customers are asking what they do going forward – we want to help them with this transition,” Eberman said.
“We can give them the option of investing in a new server going forward, or ask whether they want to offset this to a hosted environment, or even opt for a public cloud environment? The choice lies with them."
He added that alongside infrastructure services, Insight offers a range of services including disaster recovery, storage and testing development environments as well as security
But looking forward, Eberman said the focus was very much on organic growth.
“We pretty much have two cylinders for growth” he explained. “Firstly there is the classic business model – software and hardware - still very important as clients need us to be their trusted advisor in this space – and there is still a key opportunity for growth in this area.
“Secondly cloud and related services. When we look at overall IT trends – cloud is generating a lot of momentum. We have a strong relationship with core vendors and are developing a roadmap of our service delivery.”
However he said the IT industry, and the channel in particular, is facing some changes in the years to come.
“We need to make IT decision makers see IT as a strategic asset, and the bigger vendors are stepping up to do this. However the channel landscape is changing, and channel players have to decide on their business model – are they sticking wth the classic model, or are they also developing a brand new model behind and alongside that? I think we are going to see a lot of evolution over the next three to four years.”
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