Never have ICT resellers gazed over a landscape with such growth potential, but realising the opportunity is both exciting and challenging, according to Platinum sponsor Gamma CEO Bob Falconer, who outlined ways for resellers to ease their journey into new territories.
In his keynote address to Comms Vision delegates Falconer emphasised a number of reliable indicators of growth, he cautioned conferees on the threats that are in attendance, and offered a strategic pathway for the reseller channel as the industry concentrates on rising markets.
"Helping the channel to win a bigger share of the market is not a simple matter of driving out more products," he stated. "The key is to recognise and go with market growth."
Falconer noted that the channel accounts for circa 20% of the £10bn business comms market. Bright spots include IP voice which is experiencing an average growth rate of 12%, and he highlighted Ethernet as a displacement product for broadband, hailed fibre as 'utterly transformational', blew the cloud horn where IaaS is registering 32% growth, and illustrated the remarkable potential of converged fixed and mobile. "Yet many channel companies are struggling to achieve top line growth," he observed.
The statistics scream of an unprecedented opportunity, but they also mask a number of threats to some channel players, including disintermediation, the inability to add value and the rise of US tech giants that are wanting to offer comms services as a package that can be bought online.
"However, they are not close enough to customers," stated Falconer. "Resellers must show credibility, and supplier choice is a key part of this, with between two and four key suppliers all offering quality being the best way forward for resellers."
Gamma has adopted a three pronged approach to ensure partners have few if any problems in winning a bigger share of their markets. The first, Marketing and Sales Support, reflects how far the industry has moved when it comes to generating and closing leads via Gamma's Accelerate portal, which has become the centralised hub of many of its users including companies like Capita.
Gamma's second focus area is Training and Operational Support, a category in which the company's Academy continues to flourish beyond expectations, offering 10,000 courses, serving almost 2,200 users from 819 organisations across which more than 3,600 badges have been awarded.
"The Gamma Academy has rocketed," added Falconer. "No-one has a right to sell to customers, but we are giving partners the expertise they need."
Thirdly, Gamma's long held policy to offer Product Differentiation also continues to pay dividends. "Our philosophy is not to give partners a commoditised product, instead we add a sprinkle of star dust which enables them to achieve the right price."
He noted four product categories of particular interest that reflect the growth areas in today's market - Connect (Gamma's phone system), call recording, compliance and cloud compute - which alongside the company's three pillars of support add up to a strong strategy, says Falconer.
A season of light awaits those resellers who are switched on to the needs of their own business as well as those of their customers, he believes.
"The channel opportunity is bigger than ever," he stated. "But it's challenging. Resellers must provide the whole shooting match and choose their partners wisely."