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4 Networking Market Trends with Huge Implications for the Channel

4 Networking Market Trends with Huge Implications for the Channel

Sifting through the many layers of change taking place in networking today, four dynamics in particular stand out as fundamentally altering the channel business. I distill those trends here, along with their implications for solution providers.

1. Software Networking

Network virtualization (NV), network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) are, to put it simply, various models for adding and managing network programmability through software. The software foundation of New IP networks addresses a long-standing customer pain point: Networks are slow and expensive to deploy, change and manage. Software-centric New IP networks automate and simplify network processes, making it easier and more time- and cost-efficient to provision the network, to set up consistent management, security and other policies, and to gain network-wide visibility and analytics – accelerating the speed of service delivery.

Implications for the channel: Get up to speed on software networking. With software networking and the New IP, end-users gain programmatic control over complex tasks, and are able to tightly integrate and align the network with business support systems and high-value applications. This means the network now has the ability to deliver on its potential as a platform for innovation.  Brocade offers free training for partners on software networking. For anyone who wants a good, quick read on New IP-driven innovation, check out this 5-step model.

2. Subscription

Gartner tells us that 85% of organizations today are using some form of pay-as-you-go IT services.  Buyers like the flexibility of being able to subscribe to just the network they need, when they need it, with the flexibility to scale up or down; they like the flexibility of being able to fund out of OpEx, preserving precious CapEx. Brocade Network Subscription is a consumption-based acquisition model, which allows organizations to pay for what they need rather than committing to functionality or capacity that may or may not maintain relevance over the next 5-7 years. As a channel partner, network subscription provides you with a key differentiator to offer your customers financial agility, changing the conversation from “I can’t afford it” to “Sold.”

Implications for the channel: Look for a vendor who enables channel partners to offer their customers a subscription offer while also protecting the partners’ profitability. Brocade Network Subscription is a monthly network subscription, but for channel partners Brocade Network Subscription is treated the same as a cash-up-front deal

3. Line of Business (LOB) Buyers

The share of worldwide corporate IT spend that is funded by buyers in non-IT functions will grow to 47% of all IT purchases in 2019, according to IDC. As soon as next year, per Gartner, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs. 

Implications for the channel: Marketing, Finance, Human Resource, Operations and other LOBs don’t care about a switches’ port density or throughput. But they DO care about what that switch can make possible for their stakeholders.  Channel partners need to present solutions to business challenges relevant to the growing LOB buyer audience, and to speak the language of business applications and results. Look for a networking vendor who offers partners the insights, programs and enablement to grow relevance with LOB buyers.

4. Cloud

This year the market for public cloud IaaS hardware and software is forecast to reach $38B. This same market is expected to grow to $173B in 2026, according to Statistica. End users want to choose how much cloud, and what kind of cloud, is right for them.  With that in mind, the leader in public cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), linked up with a private cloud leader, VMware, just a couple of weeks ago. "Our customers continue to ask us to make it easier for them to run their existing data center investments alongside AWS," said AWS chief executive Andy Jassy.

Implications for the channel: Customers are looking for guidance as to what opportunities the cloud presents for their organizations, and how to structure a cloud model to meet their goals such as for new applications, BYOD, handling fluctuations in data loads, delivering on service-level agreements (SLAs), cost savings or productivity targets, disaster recovery, or risk management. This is a tremendous opportunity for the channel to demonstrate value as trusted advisors.  Ensure your networking vendor offers a range of on-premise and cloud offerings, both technical and commercial, because what’s right for your customer today, may well not be their preferred solution next year.

Would you have picked the same four trends as the most significant networking market forces in play today, for the channel’s future?  Why or why not? I opted not to include BYOD or IoT in my top four, for instance, as I see them as contributing to the increasing complexity that software networking and cloud are able to help solve.

 

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you!

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