Once upon a time, if you worked in IT, possessing a deep technical expertise was almost a prerequisite. You only have to look at the Apple and Facebook developer conferences to see how lauded the tech specialist remains in the industry.
But in the average office today, where would you find such a specialist? How often would you even need him or her? More IT workers today spend most of their time involved in tasks that could be described as "communicating change" rather than dealing directly with the technology.
Real technical expertise, meanwhile, is increasingly sourced from third parties. This of course is where the reseller comes in.
For most IT professionals, effective communication will be one of the biggest ongoing challenges they face over the next six or seven years.
Therefore they will have less time to spend on the technology itself. Many have told us that the IT function by 2020 will be more about policy enforcement than technology deployment.
Sometimes the average users will know more about the devices they use for work than their own IT department. BYOD obviously plays a role here too.
Having IT staff working more with senior executives, leaving users to keep the IT working, is not a world for which many businesses or organisations are ready.
Therefore the number of projects given to external specialists is likely to increase in the medium to longer term, with expertise sourced as required.
This may well include training programmes, perhaps around vendor technical certifications.
For any channel organisation still developing a core area of expertise, the time to act is now.
The immediate areas of focus are simple enough. The top three trends for the future are BYOD, cloud security and virtualisation – all areas that still present a series of questions even today for the IT professional.
For example, how and where does a virtual platform really benefit the business? Can or should the type of devices brought into work, and used to share data, be limited in some way? What risks might these platforms represent and how should the risks be managed?
Many decision makers are struggling with these questions and delaying investment in technology while they decide. They need to know that they can get help from true specialists in the channel, to get the best from projects currently on the drawing board and that will no doubt be scheduled in future.
Chris Kozup is a senior director at Aruba Networks
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