The economy is expected to grow only slowly next year.
There is good news and bad news. The bad news for those looking for large-scale projects that rely on consistent, stable corporate profits is that the wait will be long. The good news for those offering consolidation and efficiency services is that there could be good times ahead.
Even in the slowest-moving river there are faster currents. Some businesses are still expanding fast, others realise that standing effectively means losing ground, so they are still investing to remain competitive. All will be looking to spend in as cost-efficient and timely a manner as possible.
Channel companies here can demonstrate their value as expert partners, guiding companies to the best offerings for the challenges they face.
I think cloud and BYOD deserve more scrutiny.
Cloud has been around for a while, but, like with so many things in business, timing is everything. Cloud is now a real and tangible offering, enabling customers to move costs to opex. Coupled with trends such as virtualisation, cloud can help customers get rapid RoI by hugely increasing the efficiency and flexibility of existing IT estates.
Delivering IT as a utility requires more sales personalisation and 'solution selling' than ever. So resellers will have to become experts at migrating the customer to the right cloud offering, as well as explaining commercial advantages and RoI potential.
The BYOD trend is in many ways inseparable from the move to cloud-based offerings. Companies and workers are relying more on employees' own devices out of personal preference or to plug the gaps in communication infrastructure.
A rapidly evolving range of devices and operating systems must be integrated into seamless, coherent and monitored systems. Today, that's one of the IT department's greatest challenges, and the channel needs to help them. Channel partners that are able to address customer concerns around security, network capacity and availability, working closely with vendors, will make significant gains in this space in 2013.
Low growth is still growth, and companies will be looking to consolidate and drive efficiencies. The skill the channel winners must master is showing them how.
Tony Smith is indirect channel sales director at Siemens
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