In early 2023, the channel will see an increased focus on vertical markets as vendors, distributors and partners strive for growth. All partners will focus on deployment, considering what has worked well throughout 2022 and what they need to do differently for the year ahead. This will include how to increase collaboration, value, and the types of services offered, to remain competitive in the market.
Every year, we see vendors demand a more rounded and complete service from their channel partners in the ever-evolving channel ecosystem. This includes specialist advisors who understand what they are looking for and show a true commitment to vendors. Partners must continue to be more focused on a specific technology or vertical market to add true value to their customers.
In my opinion, the key to channel success in 2023 and beyond depends largely on the offering of professional services training with key certifications, security-cleared resources that can compete in the public sector, proof of concept (POC) capabilities, and technical expertise.
As budgets inevitably tighten in the coming year and the volatility of the markets continues, any growth for channel partners is positive, but it is those partners that add a layer of expertise to ongoing projects who will enjoy the biggest growth. As customers start to look at overall value, they will be relying on partners to focus on a select group of key vendors and key solutions to deliver tangible results.
External factors will continue to present challenges for the industry in 2023. One of these factors is the IT talent deficit, which is not only driving up salary costs but also limiting the pace that partners can match the demands of their customers. The cycle repeats as the rising energy costs contribute to increasing inflation, with ongoing IT skills gap challenges making it extremely difficult for companies to continually add value to their products.
One of the biggest growth-limiting factors seen in 2022 is the uncertainty around world events, namely the Russia/Ukraine conflict; if the geopolitical and military events calm in 2023, this does have the potential to spur growth.
Partners are also looking at the overall ‘wrap around’ of services, as opposed to a simple transaction, which is further exacerbated by the shortage of skills. If partners can bridge the talent gap and deliver partner portals and increased levels of training around these added services, they can offer an end-to-end solution that will help them to, not only survive, but thrive in the market.
Going forward into 2023, it’s imperative that partners now deliver tailor-made solutions for customers and offer ongoing management and professional services help to stand out in the market.
By Chris Martin, Channel Alliance Director, A10 International