We're hearing it from customers around the globe—please, help us with digital transformation. They recognise that immense amounts of time, effort, and money are required to enact a comprehensive IT evolution, especially one that doesn't just recreate the business in a more tech-savvy form but rather reimagines it for the digital era.
Digital transformation is akin to rolling a snowball up a snowy hill. With each strategic initiative, an organisation's infrastructure tends to become more complex. The compounding effect makes it increasingly difficult for companies to maintain existing technologies and also push forward to the next transformation stage.
Fortunately, channel partners are well positioned to take on a problem-solving role here. Leveraging a new category of products and services, the channel can forge win-win engagements that expand customer relationships while elevating clients' digital infrastructure projects.
Data Centres Are Central
There is a perception among some in the IT industry that data centres are behind us, having given way to the cloud. This mindset, however, denies today's hybrid reality, where decisions are less often "either/or" than "yes and." Even companies engaged in cloud-intensive digital transformations are still saying "yes" to the data centre and then adding solutions on top.
To this point, Gartner expects global data centre infrastructure spending to reach $200 billion in 2021. The fact that pandemic recovery involves substantial bounce-back in direct data centre investment underscores the importance of these facilities and ongoing upgrades.
At the same time, data centre and network maintenance is expected to exceed $185 billion annually, offering a nearly equal complement to hardware resale. Channel partners cannot help but be interested in taking a slice of this pie. The question is how to do it effectively.
A Complex Ecosystem
To maximise their relevance in the maintenance sphere, channel partners will need to leverage their data centre expertise to meet businesses where they are—and that isn't the same place it was even a few years ago.
Digital infrastructure is no longer confined to a hub-and-spoke model, in which nodes across the enterprise inevitably point back to the data centre and equipment supplied by the channel. IT has evolved into a complex ecosystem comprising diverse physical and virtual assets, often spanning multi-cloud and edge environments.
This makes infrastructure monitoring and maintenance burdensomely complicated. Enterprises are encumbered with a plethora of dashboards for different components. Among other problems, the resulting alert fatigue inflates the risk of overlooking critical faults in a sea of routine messages and thereby suffering unnecessary downtime.
In many ways, the enterprise has grown a digital infrastructure that is too difficult and costly to maintain—at least without new tools and services.
Proactive Maintenance in a Single Pane
The emergence of the DMSO category—which links Discovery, Monitoring, Support and Optimization solutions—is being spurred by the urgent need to tame this never-seen-before complexity. DMSO offers a view up and down the technology stack into hardware, operating systems, networks, databases, applications, and the cloud.
Three DMSO features are of particular value to the transforming digital enterprise:
Solutions integration is unifying the currently disparate infrastructure maintenance toolset. For example, automated discovery solutions ensure all physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure elements are accounted for. Then OEM-agnostic hardware monitoring combines with server and network monitoring to provide complete transparency.
Automation and Analytics
Automation and analytics are reducing the manual task loads for IT staff. Smart systems are stemming the flood of alerts while powerful network management tools automate key functions, such as configuration. At the same time, analytics put the right information before infrastructure managers to drive insights and strategic decision-making.
Increasingly predictive technologies are leveraging AI advancements to fix problems before they happen. This is essential when downtime costs can reach $1 million per hour for Fortune 1000 companies, according to an IDC survey, and typical annual spending on incidents ranges from $1 million for mid-sized companies to $60 million or more for large enterprises, per an IHS report.
Enhancing Partnerships for Channel Partners
The industry cannot ignore this emerging opportunity to help customers maximize uptime, enhance cost-efficiency, enable greater infrastructure control, and boost asset performance. Full adoption will involve two-way partnerships.
First, the channel will need to strategically link customers to products and services in the DMSO category. These offerings comprise new, high-margin revenue opportunities, and moreover, they will expand channel partners' consultative role with customers.
From there, channel partners will be able to supply solutions designed specifically for managing complex digital infrastructure. By reducing the financial and labor costs of ongoing maintenance, they will accelerate customers' digital transformation journeys and reap the many rewards of doing so.
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