How is the channel following through on its vision for 2016?

At the beginning of this year, we laid out our top predictions for technology trends in the channel for 2016. As we reach the half way point of the calendar year, it’s time to recap and see how things are shaping up so far:

Marcus Adae, Vice President Strategic Suppliers, Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA

Marcus Adae, Vice President Strategic Suppliers,
Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA

#1: Mobility for channel enablement

Mobility is moving more towards app-driven enablement, this much we know to be true. Mobile apps are becoming the norm for any kind of customer interaction, thanks to more personalised engagement through analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) data. However, what we’re seeing so far is that enterprise infrastructure is an even more important driver for the channel and partners in the mobility space. Read More…

Posted under Big data, BYOD; celebrating mobility, Cloud Computing, Converged infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT), Security

Our vision for technology in 2016

Dieter Lott, Vice President, Business Development, EMEA, shares how we see 2016 shaping up in terms of technology trends.

Dieter Lott Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA

Dieter Lott, Vice President Business Development EMEA, Avnet Technology Solutions

#1: Mobility for channel enablement

Mobile interactions are continuing to evolve. There’s a massive shift in the mobile space with apps becoming the norm for any kind of customer interaction. Downloading apps is now a normal ask of customers. In 2016, this will open up new solution areas for channel partners as mobility moves more towards app-driven channel enablement where partners can communicate, receive and access information through easy-to-use apps.

Value-added distributors can help here by offering their expertise, such as mobile app development, to enhance the skills of their partners. In the vertical markets this is all the more essential as growth in those segments is driven by customer engagement which can be achieved through personalised experiences generated by the merging analytics, mobile apps and Internet of Things (IoT) data.

Read More…

Posted under Big data, BYOD; celebrating mobility, Internet of Things (IoT)

This post was written by on January 13, 2016

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5 Ways Global and Regional Outsourcing is changing

Peter Blythe, Chief Architect, Systems Integrators & Outsourcers at Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA

According to IDC, the industry’s dramatic and disruptive shift to its 3rd Platform for innovation and growth will accelerate in 2015. Spending on these technologies and solutions — growing at 13% — will account for one-third of all industry revenue and 100% of growth. The 2nd Platform world will tip into recession by mid-2015. 1

Driven by some of the fastest changes that the IT market has seen for years, the traditional approach to outsourcing is becoming more difficult to apply, as client and consumer needs are constantly changing. Whether that is the need for mobile enabled applications, cloud delivered platforms and services, the need for delivering better business outcomes through use of the data and analytics, or the effect on brand reputation through instantaneous social feedback, the enterprise customer is becoming more demanding as technology moves to the third platform and organisations need to be more agile in the market place to survive.

If we look back 5-10 years, the IT Outsourcing (ITO) business was focused on running core IT functions for large organisations and government departments with long term contracts that have a typical length of 7-10 years. During the contract period, the outsourcer would deliver the core IT services and run the IT environment for the client and help drive down cost and improve the efficiency of the environment. However, this outsourcing approach was typically un-dynamic and often lead to the outsourcing contract being based on an old way of delivering outdated IT and IT efficiencies in a budget that was determined at the start of the contract.

So, with the change in contract length to typically 3 years with possible 2 year extensions, the introduction of cloud based infrastructure, services and applications, Global System Integrators (GSIs) need to be much more agile in their approach to their business.  Being large organisations themselves, they provide a good risk profile for the customer. However, on the downside, being large organisations they are not always as agile as smaller regional integrators or specialist companies when it comes to adapting to market change.

So how are the outsourcing businesses changing to adapt to the market change?

Adopting a more agile approach to outsourcing and adopting Systems Integration and Management (SIAM) models, in order to help deliver a consistent service level to their clients, no matter what services they are delivering.

By adopting the SIAM model, the systems integrator is able to deliver consistent service levels for the core outsourcing services to the client – whether they are delivered from an onshore, offshore or third party who has a specific industry or application knowledge for the specific area of outsourcing e.g. HCM, Retail etc. Additionally, by using this model, new services can be adopted and added into the service offering more quickly e.g. end user computing or SaaS.

Understanding the customers’ market and the specific market business needs. As an ITO it is not good enough to be able to deliver an outsourcing service alone, it is important to also understand the challenges and restrictions of the market you are entering.  For example, defence outsourcing is quite different from retail outsourcing. If they do not have the skills and market and business knowledge of that sector, it is very easy to see an outsourcing project go wrong and lose money due to unforeseen industry challenges.

Organisations are adopting DevOps processes. In order to deliver a more agile and faster approach to delivering applications and services, business are adopting the DevOps actions of: People, Process, Culture and Tools in order to deliver better Business Process Management outcomes. This is key to allow the systems integrator or outsourcer adapt to the changing cloud and consumer driven society and deliver front, back and mid-office solutions more rapidly to their clients.

Building Digital Practices. Outsourcers are building digital practices to help deliver the innovation that might otherwise be difficult to achieve under the traditional outsourcing model. These practices are designed to meet the needs of the third platform with cloud, mobility, social and Big Data Analytics at the core of the services they deliver. As with any IT project today, mobility is a key part of the deliverable outcome for the client, as it brings complete business and end user inclusion, so the digital practices have to have a mobility strategy as part of core offering they take to market.

Source: IDC MaturityScape Digital Transformation Stage Overview, March 2015. 

Focusing on the business transformation need – not just the ITO needs. Traditionally the systems integrator has been focussed on the IT side of outsourcing with separate businesses for consultancy & BPO. However, as the  change to the third platform accelerates, the ITO is changing to incorporate many of the elements from the business consultancy and BPO business as part of a wider business transformation offering.

In today’s channel, outsourcing businesses are being forced to adapt to the constant market change. Is your organisation using any other methods to adapt to the market change and to prepare for the third platform?

1 IDC Predictions 2015: Accelerating Innovation – and Growth – on the 3rd Platform, doc #252700, December 2014.

Posted under IT infrastructure

The channel needs to wake up to converged infrastructure and emerging technologies in the data centre

Dieter Lott, Vice President Business Development, EMEA at Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA

Many organisations’ data centres today are made up of complicated legacy models. This has led to a drastic increase in IT complexity overall, creating big challenges when it comes to IT management, security, scalability and cost efficiency within data centres.

On top of this, today’s IT departments have a perplexing choice of technologies as they build and maintain their data centres to meet the demands of the digital economy. To address the needs of the new digitally savvy workforce too, larger organisations have built teams around the technology disciplines of server, storage and networking and the best-of-breed solutions in each area. The luxury of dedicated teams though isn’t available to all organisations.

One increasingly popular approach to this challenge is by implementing converged infrastructure and new emerging technologies in the data centre such as software defined networking (SDN), operational analytics and big data.

Converged infrastructure is now well and truly a growth market and the channel needs to address this now. This technology has the ability to bring together all fundamental hardware components in an intelligently engineered, purpose-built configuration. A key benefit of converged infrastructure is the fact that these systems are pre-configured, integrated, tested and installed as a single, cohesive unit, rather than ‘bolted together’ with a digital version of duct tape.

In a nutshell, by deploying converged infrastructure, organisations can reduce complexity, ease deployment and integration, lower expenses and improve their ability to deploy technology for truly transformative needs, rather than simply to ‘keep systems operating’.

But what else can it do and what should the channel be addressing?

  1. Accommodating new and emerging technologies – complex and rigid legacy systems make it difficult to integrate newer IT such as mobility and cloud computing.
  2. Bridging skills gaps – close integration points between the different technologies within the converged infrastructure stack and upper level management/orchestration software means IT management is greatly simplified and training requirements are often reduced. However, in order for customers to realise these benefits, the channel needs to address skills in delivering solutions and services in tools around management and orchestration.
  3. Businesses operate in silos – to realise the full potential of converged infrastructure, end customer businesses need to have a consolidated approach to managing their infrastructure, and channel organisations need the same joined up approach to delivering it.
  4. Limited resources – converged infrastructure can alleviate this challenge of limited resource by providing technology that is built to work together and can be managed in a simplified cohesive manner.
  5. Legacy infrastructure – standardisation of infrastructure is the key to simplifying infrastructure management. Converged infrastructure needs to be viewed not simply as a typical IT cost, but as a means to reducing complexity and operating costs over time.
  6. Complex regulatory environment – converged infrastructure creates a standardised model to ensure compliance is met as you can define the mould and repeat it, which is much simpler than maintaining compliance in a non-standardised, ad-hoc infrastructure.
  7. Ensuring continuity – the inability to respond to customer demands for even a moment can be massively detrimental to an organisation’s financial health –business continuity is key. This doesn’t mean simply saving data in the event of disaster but maintaining “business as usual” IT. Converged infrastructure simplifies disaster recovery planning as businesses can work with a standard model for infrastructure regardless of location.

On top of these challenges, the pace of change within data centres is spectacular and this is why converged infrastructure, and new emerging technologies like mobility, cloud and software defined networking (SDN), are already key discussion points in the IT industry due to the drive for more scalable IT architectures. The convergence of data centre tech and networking tech is causing this significant market shift.

Data centre infrastructure is becoming increasingly complex as end-users embrace a combination of on- and off-premise cloud solutions, as well as platform and software “as-a-service” models. At the same time, businesses are under pressure to align IT costs more effectively to performance, ensuring high demand times for IT are covered effectively without over-investing. This need is compelling IT organisations to place more emphasis on capacity forecasting and analytics – yet finding the different skill levels required for these new emerging technologies in the data centre is a real challenge. Gartner backed this when it found 80 percent of businesses “will find growth constrained from a lack of new data centre skills by 2016.” This means there’s a question over whether the channel has the IT skills to address market demands.

I believe we now have an opportunity in the channel; this is a chance for resellers to step in and fulfil the IT skills on behalf of their customers. The channel needs to help businesses in EMEA to understand how and why these technologies help to overcome business challenges and requirements for today – and tomorrow. What is more, it answers, to a certain extent, where the value proposition in the future reseller landscape lies. The role distributors play will be affected too. We will be trusted to provide both enablement and the skills and training that are required.

Posted under IT infrastructure