2020 is a little over one week old, and as many employees return to the office, the time has come to think about the year ahead and prepare accordingly. The same goes for the vendor and channel industries, especially given the era of transformation and growth that the technology as a whole is promising at the moment.

With that in mind, Jamie Farrelly, VP of EMEA channels at Veritas Technologies, has looked at the coming 12 months through the lens of the channel and outlined some predictions for 2020.

Here is what Farrelly has earmarked for the year ahead, and what those in the channel should be taking notice of.

Cut through the hype

The first thing that he highlights is the channel’s ability to offer valued-added services that cut through the hype.

“Within the technology industry, vendors and analysts are constantly promising the next big thing – from AI to IoT and edge computing. Much of this hype is now turning into reality. The channel’s role is to think about how the latest technology can be applied to solve a problem for customers or present a new opportunity,” he explains.

“Whether it’s reducing complexity or increasing efficiency, the pace of change is accelerating, and the onus is on partners to understand the technology, know how it positively impacts customers and then work with vendors to develop a new approach for customers,” Farrelly adds.

Embracing a mix of technologies

Next he looks at vendors, many of whom are now facing the challenge of working with several different technologies in order to meet the needs of customers.

He goes on to note that vendors also need to realise that they can no longer exist solely within their own technology bubble, and that they in fact are part of a much wider ecosystem.

“There’s a real need for technology vendors to think beyond their own area of expertise. It’s no longer just about working with partners, but also other vendors, in order to create ecosystem solutions that solve bigger customer issues in this digital age,” says the VP.

“Integration and specialisation mean everything to the modern customer, so working with other vendors is a must. As a result, we’ll see more integration and collaboration in the channel in the year ahead,” he continues.

2020 is all about automation

Zeroing in on a key trend for 2020, Farrelly says automation will play a pivotal role in what the channel will consider as it aims to simplify the user experience.

“We’re already seeing a movement towards generalist IT, and this will continue through the next year. For example, businesses will want to democratise their IT environments, adding security and backup functions to their existing technology stack, with the confidence that the backend processes and policies are taken care of by specialist technology partners,” he points out.

The channel will be vital to enabling this, especially if those in the industry embrace automation in order to better serve customers.

Channel-as-a-service

The as-a-service model is spreading, and it looks as if the channel is no different in this regard according to Farrelly.

“As partners look for new ways to become a trusted advisor and automate processes, we will see the emergence of new platforms designed to bring together multiple technologies that are guaranteed to work together,” the Veritas exec says.

“For example, combining security, backup and workload technologies with an automated billing platform based on a partner’s integration capabilities,” he illustrates.

Continuing the cloud journey

The last element that Farrelly highlights pertains to the cloud. He says cloud service providers (CSPs) are driving hyper growth in the local market and we can expect to see more mergers and acquisitions in 2020.

“The launch of AWS Outposts will also take enterprises by storm and accelerate the move towards a hybrid cloud strategy. In turn, CSPs will need the channel more than ever before,” believes the VP.

“As businesses move more workloads to the cloud, the channel will evolve from simply managing SLAs to offering a more profitable and consultative approach,” concludes.