By Christine Kern, contributing writer
The 2112 Group provided advice to help IT solutions providers deal with, as CEO and chief analyst Larry Walsh described it, “this entire wave of innovation that’s being summed up in things like the Internet of Things [IoT].” Walsh and Diana Mirajkaj, COO of The 2112 Group, presented the keynote at the Smart VAR Summit: Age Of Intelligence — IoT, Cloud, And Mobility Convergence, powered by ScanSource, Zebra Technologies, and Business Solutions, on October 14 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA.
In the presentation titled The Channel Theory of Everything: Tying IT together Strategically, Walsh explained in the legacy technology market, technology satisfied a function, not an outcome; product sales were in units, not solutions; value-add equaled support and advice; and sales and revenue were episodic. Today’s market is a very different breed, in large part because now change and disruption is continuous. Today’s new trends include cloud computing, ubiquitous mobility, the Internet of Things, Big Data, and cognitive computing.
These trends are changing business models as VARs become more service oriented, transitioning to providers of services rather than sellers of products. The new landscape is also changing costs and budgeting, technology and information management consumption, the speed at which you operate, the boundaries of your work/life balance, and creating a sense of automation and accessibility. These are the obvious changes.
There are also a number of less obvious effects of the new landscape, including changing expectations; heightened social impact; increased levels of risk and more risk; creation of new business models that focus not on containing cost but on creating more value; and an emphasis on innovation, imagination, and possibilities. The future is about outcome-based systems, not individual products.
In order to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities afforded by the IoT, VARs must be focused on their goals and measure that against their capabilities. Mirajkaj said your business plan should reflect realistic goals. “There is no denying that there is a huge opportunity in IOT and in all of the areas that we are referring to right now, but you really need to be very focused in what it is that you are going after and measure that against what your capabilities are, she said. “Decide what investment you are going to make not only in your product stack, but what resources you are going to need today and tomorrow. It’s not going to happen overnight, but by setting goals it’s going to allow you to actually get there.”
Walsh said you must balance this with your efforts to drive recurring revenue; create value and outcomes; manage customer relationships; reduce costs; and perform. He said, “Engage strategically. This is about not just looking at the margins. Look at the opportunity that you can create for yourselves. Trust me when I tell you that if you are operating independently of what vendors call their profitability stack and you are creating your own rain, they are going to be coming to your door, because you are doing something special — you inspire and innovate.”
He also reminded IT solutions providers that the pace of innovation and change is going to continue. “You need to embrace change. Self-assess honestly. Set goals, decide on current and future investments, and be focused and establish your own internal accountability.”
“Change is not a choice,” he said. “Keep pace, be agile, remain competitive, maintain relevancy, refine capabilities, and always evolve.