Data management will be central to channel success in 2019 as partners assume an advisory role around workloads, cloud providers and optimal integration.
"One priority for IT partners in 2019 should be simplifying the process of daily data monitoring, management and the protection of enterprise customers, whose application ecosystem is rapidly expanding,” said Tian Beng Ng, senior vice president and general manager of channels across Asia Pacific Japan at Dell EMC.
“By driving conversations around and providing the right guidance for data back-up, replication, deduplication, instant access and restore, as well as long-term retention to the cloud, partners will strengthen their position as strategic enablers of data-driven businesses."
Data is central to much of today’s technology advances, including analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), personalised healthcare, and the list goes on.
“In the years ahead, we can expect business leaders to place a stronger focus on effective data management – a trend that will significantly impact the IT industry,” Ng said.
Ng believes that in the years to follow, multi-cloud or a combination of private and public cloud computing will continue to gain market share, as more organisations understand the enormous benefits afforded to organisations who make the shift as a means to optimise the management of different workloads.
“With the goal to differentiate and grow in a sustainable manner, companies increasingly seek flexibility in managing their valuable data assets whilst demanding secure computing environments, whether they are on or off-premise,” said Ng.
Private vs Public
The debate around private versus public cloud has been ongoing within organisations for some years, with each side expressing strong opinions on each.
However, nowadays, the debate has started to die down, with IT experts and users beginning to acknowledge the clear benefits of each approach under a hybrid or multi-cloud approach.
This has led to a shift in the discussion from which cloud, public or private, to what is the right cloud combination, with proponents recognising the best solution is a combined solution, or a multi-cloud approach, rather than the false dichotomy of one or the other.
What is the right combination? “IT partners and the organisations they are assisting will find that there is no straightforward answer to this question,” said Ng.
“Many factors are in play, including the company’s stage of cloud adoption, specific workload needs, compliance and risk concerns, just to name a few.
"One thing, however, remains in common – the adoption of multi-cloud ultimately points to organisations’ desire to ‘de-risk’ IT investments, avoid vendor lock-ins, and create business advantages."
Ng sees IT partners playing the role of strategic business advisors in helping enterprise customers to simplify the complex deliberation process, which often involves a myriad of IT architectures and cloud solutions that comes with different benefits at different price points.
“In today’s multi-cloud world, I believe the future of the IT channel will hinge on relationship- based, rather than transaction-based, interactions,” said Ng.
“IT partners’ ability to establish and strengthen successful partnerships - through a deep understanding of new business demands, and the ongoing refresh of their cloud offerings - will help elevate the overall importance of the IT channel in the business world."
Role of the channel
Once the most suitable cloud vendor has been selected, the next stage should be to make sure the integration is done well, and the newly-formed cloud architecture works together to accomplish what it was supposed to accomplish, namely, enable effective data management, create agility, and reduce costs.
“Whilst new solutions are entering the market to address integration and operability challenges associated with the use of multi-cloud, I believe more can be done from the IT channel side to help enterprise customers achieve standardisations across the multiple platforms and build an integrated data network that offers connectivity and accessibility,” said Ng.
“Data protection and compliance concerns also stand out from a data management perspective for multi-cloud adopters."
Furthermore, as network intelligence continues to transition to the edge due to the advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, security concerns will heighten.
This is why, as Ng alluded to via a social media post, the priority of partners over the coming year should be focused on simplifying the process of daily data monitoring, management and the protection of enterprise customers, whose application ecosystem is rapidly expanding.
“From a customer value perspective, as the world reorients toward the everything-as-a-service model, the channel business also needs to redirect its focus from ‘box pushing’ to exploring broadened operational and business efforts to create greater efficiencies for customers,” said Ng.
“Whether it is building brand-new cloud platforms or enhancing existing cloud operating models, IT partners can turn to Dell Technologies’ expansive cloud portfolio for readily available resources to help them assess, plan and execute their next cloud investment.
“I believe having this solid support foundation will empower the IT channel to achieve greater levels of innovation in facilitating multi-cloud adoption across all organisations."