Guest Column | February 12, 2019

as-a-Service — The Primary Driver Behind Channel 2.0

By Wayne Monk, ASG Technologies Group

Are CIOs Becoming “Internal Service Providers”?

To continue delivering value to solutions providers, software vendors need to be at the forefront of new innovations — incorporating new services into their portfolio based on the latest and greatest technologies to attack emerging market opportunities. In 2018, for instance, we saw an increase in vendors investing in new data protection innovations to ensure and secure privacy due to the enactment of the GDPR and the CCPA.

As we look to 2019, channel partners will need to continue to enhance their service offerings as new technologies emerge and as business systems transform. While there are sure to be a number of factors that will drive new channel services and solutions, we can expect the following four to prompt the most significant changes to solutions providers and MSPs.

  1. as-a-Service Models Will Drive Boundless Opportunities

Over the past few years, the as-a-Service market has grown in leaps and bounds. The Software as-a-Service (SaaS) market alone is expected to grow by $76 billion over the next two years. The as-a-Service model allows software vendors to customize their solutions and business models to meet the specific needs of their partners, enabling them to create innovative offerings leveraging their intellectual property and to structure flexible payment terms for their customers. This provides tremendous competitive advantage and benefits to the partner and significant value to their customers.

As the as-a-Service model continues to become more prevalent, software vendors are able to constantly demonstrate their value to partners via customized solutions supported by rewarding partner programs that offer flexible business models. 2019 will place more pressure on software vendors and partners to earn the customer’s business at every day to ensure continued consumption of their services. We can expect software vendors to capitalize on the endless opportunities to provide solution partners with fresh ways to enhance their offerings with services that will help them build innovative and compelling offerings to reach new markets.

  1. Automation Will Fuel Business Growth

One function sure to fuel the popular as-a-Service growth is automation, something that has become increasingly prevalent in businesses over the past few years enabling better, streamlined processes. In 2019, we can expect more software vendors to offer automation to enhance the systems and processes of their partners’ businesses.

By leveraging AI, machine learning, business process automation (BPA), and robotic process automation (RPA) technologies, software vendors can empower partners and their customers — especially those with fewer employees — to streamline their workflows, allowing for additional time to focus on business innovation as opposed to more repetitive, mundane work.

  1. Data Is Becoming The Only IT Asset Customers Own

As customers continue to move applications to the cloud or to seek managed service providers and outsourcers to run them, the only IT asset they own is their data. Data management and security is quickly becoming the most important skillset that solutions providers and customers need to develop and possess. It is imperative that companies gain an understanding of where the critical data resides, how it flows and how it is transformed across the information supply chain from the source to all consumption points. Building a data catalog and establishing strong data governance practices is necessary to protect and trust your data assets. This requirement applies to all data — structured and unstructured — that resides in the customers environment which presents significant challenges.

Finally, customers continue to define strategies to take advantage of the cloud and leverage the low cost and flexible storage options, while ensuring their data is protected and secure. Partners can develop new services based on the knowledge gleaned from these collective data sources. In 2019, the industry can expect more organizations to recognize the ability to monetize their data by further analyzing it and leveraging it to make better business decisions and produce higher quality offerings at lower costs.

  1. Millennials Will Fuel Demand For Improved User Experiences

As millennials grow in their careers, take on more executive roles, and increasingly steer critical business decisions, we’ll see greater advocacy and demand for intuitive, easy-to-use user experiences with software solutions.

Having grown up texting and well-versed in omni-channel experiences, intuitive apps, and responsive design, millennials expect enterprise platforms to operate in the same manner as those they use in their personal lives, making user experience key. Superior user experiences include everything from consistency of brand/product message, to best-in-class customer support, to easy-to-use product interfaces.

In addition, millennials expect instant value from their interactions with their apps, placing more pressure on software vendors and partners to ensure their users see the inherent value within minutes of trailing software solutions, not days or weeks. Millennial executives at solutions provider organizations will seek software vendors who understand the importance of these criteria and deliver user experiences that are at the same gold standard as the solutions provider itself would offer.

With new decision makers chartering new business priorities and partner relationships, 2019 presents a great opportunity for software vendors to take stock of their services and ensure they’re incorporating the latest innovations and service offerings into their organizations to meet today’s market needs. By adding new services now, software vendors and their partners will not only set themselves up for a strong 2019, but also for a profitable new decade.

About The Author

Wayne Monk is Senior Vice President, Global Alliances and Channel Sales at ASG Technologies and is responsible for establishing strategic partnerships, indirect channels and other key routes to market. Wayne has 30 years of enterprise solution sales, marketing and channel management experience with high growth technology companies. Wayne has held many sales and channel management positions with Seamless Technologies (acquired by Avnet), HP Software, Mercury Interactive, CA, MainControl (acquired by MRO and then IBM), and NCR Corporation.