The IT channel needs to invest more in its own intellectual property (IP) as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and public cloud become more prominent.
Speaking in the latest issue of CRN (out next Monday) channel firms explained how they have invested in software development, on top of products from the likes of Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, to solve specific customer problems. All three partners also incorporated AI and machine learning into the solutions.
Mitchell Feldman, chief digital officer at Microsoft partner RedPixie, said the firm has made a conscious effort to focus more on IP as the public cloud giants rely less and less on the channel for selling products and services.
RedPixie has worked with a UK healthcare provider to create a smartwatch which monitors the wearer's health, and can send out alerts based on the data it gathers.
"All the cloud providers are eventually going to go direct to the consumer and for the very easy workloads they'll offer those services from free, or offer tooling," he said. "We're seeing that already.
"Building our own IP means that our business is highly sustainable and repeatable. We've built this quality, repeatable pattern that we can apply to different industries and create a revenue stream for ourselves."
Howard Hall, managing director at Solutionpath, said the growing complexity of technology means that solutions will naturally require greater collaborations between parties.
Solutionpath, part of the same group as HP partner DTP, has created a software platform that analyses the student data to help universities predict students' performance. Using machine learning, the platform can predict if a student is going to drop out up to 20 weeks before they actually do, Hall explained.
He said the channel needs to embrace the concept of developing its own IP, or risk falling behind an new breed of innovative IT firms.
"The traditional approach for our industry is to either buy or sell a platform, and leave them to get on with it," he said. "Our approach [at Solutionpath] has been to find the problem we're going to solve and then build the platform to solve the problem.
"What may well get in the way of adoption by the current channel is that inability to innovate and think about things a little bit differently, but I don't think it will hold things up because others will just come around the sides.
"We didn't know anything about software developing five years ago, but we've built a business around solving customer problems."
The full story, and a detailed case study of each partner's products, can be found in the next issue of CRN which is out on Monday.
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