The rise of a digitally-focused nation in Malaysia, coupled by increased government initiatives and changing customer demands, is combining to create a new type of channel partner in 2020.
No longer motivated by resell and seldom attached to transactional deals, the modern breed of technology provider is built on the foundations of consultation, flexibility and value-add, underpinned by the delivery of managed services.
As outlined by Andy Ng - channel director of Malaysia at Dell Technologies - local customers today want to speed up time to market, in addition to driving faster revenue streams through technology, placing the channel at the heart of transformation agendas.
“But organisations are often budget and resource-constrained, which can impede strategic goals, so customers strive to drive out inefficiencies and free up time, money and resources to focus on innovation,” Ng explained. “What this means is that they want a trusted partner to relieve economic and time pressures and resolve gaps in technology and expertise. In this fast-paced digital age, they need this trusted partner to appear right now.”
As a result, and in recognition of a Malaysian market forecast to spend more than US$25 billion on technology by 2023, Ng acknowledged that the role of the channel continues to drastically change in response to fluctuating market demands.
“We have seen many of them move away from simply selling the latest and best products to providing valuable consultation and helping customers strategically build IT infrastructure,” he added. “Partners now need to look beyond the basic sale of components and aim to help customers solve larger and more complex enterprise problems.
“Partners are now expected to also understand the business of a customer so they can harness the most appropriate technology solutions for success.”
By 2022, over 21 per cent of Malaysia’s GDP (gross domestic product) is expected to be digitalised, with the digital economy central to high-income nation ambitions.
“Digital transformation continues to be top of the agenda that is driving change in the channel ecosystem in Malaysia,” Ng observed. “Both distributors and system integrators realise a need to stay competitive and are going through a transformation journey themselves – from a conventional hardware and volume vendor to a solution value vendor.”
Delving deeper, Ng cited the rise of cloud as another key driver of change across the country, fuelled by growing customer demand for managed services. As a result, the market has witnessed a significant increase in the creation of managed services providers (MSP) and cloud services providers (CSP) during recent years.
“The complexities that come with successful digital transformation and the challenging environment that organisations now operate in will mean that customers need trusted partners more than ever,” Ng said.
“Partners must recognise that they are now the strategic go-to for customers in their digital transformation journey and vendors such as Dell Technologies must continue to help our partners to build on skills and capabilities so that together, we can be the go-to resource for our customers.”
As revealed by Channel Asia, client, server and storage represent the three lines of business expected to drive partner growth for a simplified Dell Technologies’ channel in Malaysia, and the wider Asia Pacific region, during 2020.
In reducing core product segments from seven to three, as part of widespread channel enhancements, the technology giant has ushered in the next iteration of a partner program designed to be “simple, predictable and profitable”.
To achieve the holy grail of profitability however, foundations have been laid to ensure engagement is simplified across the supply chain, spanning condensed solution sets, streamlined rebates and consistent in-country go-to-market strategies.
“At Dell Technologies, we remain committed to our program promise to be ‘simple, predictable and profitable’ for our partners,” added Ng, in reference to Malaysian market ambitions. “Our priorities for the channel and our partners remain the same since day one and will continue into 2020.
“Firstly, we want to make it easier for partners to do more business with us. As we expand our online platforms into next year, we will continue to invest in key capabilities including a dynamic deal registration experience, self-service online pricing, automated integration with our partners’ systems and more intuitive administration of our Dell Technologies Partner Program and user experience.”
Secondly, the vendor wants to fast-track the ability of partners to deliver "transformational solutions" at a customer level.
“We know the real value is not in individual products or solutions but the combination of the greater Dell Technologies portfolio,” Ng said. “We will continue to make it easier for partners to leverage to our combined portfolio.”
Finally, Ng said the technology giant is helping partners pivot towards the Internet of Things (IoT), as part of “embrace and monetise” channel plans in Malaysia.
“As products become more specialised and emerging technologies create a demand for data, we want to help partners embrace and monetise them,” Ng outlined. “We will continue to focus on supporting our partners with new training and competencies, working with them to build skills and specialties."
In assessing the market landscape in 2020, Mark Iles - executive analyst at Tech Research Asia - remained “bullish” on the opportunities ahead for partners in Malaysia.
“Asia has less legacy IT infrastructure than more mature regions like the Americas and Europe enabling a more rapid take up of new technologies,” Iles explained.
According to Channel Asia findings - delivered in conjunction with Tech Research Asia - digital transformation ranks as the leading priority for enterprise customers in Malaysia during 2020, ahead of security and customer experience.
“All of these require skills and expertise that most customers don’t have and they will turn to local partners who understand these technologies and their business to help them,” Iles advised. “The key for partner success is to understand local nuances, culture and how things are done in Malaysia.
“System integrators must also be able to offer subject matter experts to understand user requirements in specific verticals such as healthcare, financial services, telecommunications, retail and manufacturing, to be successful.
“Enterprise customers are also looking at tiered-managed services, an ‘a la carte’ menu of different services from system integrators and vendors so that they can invest and take a phased-approach to the digitalisation of their business.”
In acknowledging “immense opportunity” ahead for the Malaysian channel, Ng also documented the shift to embrace multi-cloud strategies, specific to hybrid and native public clouds.
“We enable this through Dell Technologies Cloud, which is designed to remove cloud complexity and make cloud environments simpler to deploy and manage, by offering consistent operations and infrastructure across IT resources regardless of location,” he added.
Delving deeper, Ng said customers are no longer setting aside large capital investments for technology procurements. Instead, businesses want flexibility in the way technology is consumed to more predictably budget and plan for IT spending, paying for solutions on demand.
"Dell Technologies On Demand addresses the obstacles that our partners’ customers could potentially encounter with typical on-premises consumption-based as-a-service offerings that are too limited, rigid or inconsistent,” he advised. “Through this offering, customers can choose how they want to add capacity, as well as fully stacked solutions, a robust services portfolio and coverage from the edge, data centre to the cloud.”
Across Asia Pacific, Ng said more partners are now also able to offer Dell Financial Services (DFS) flexible consumption models - such as Flex on Demand and Pay As You Grow - to help reduce financial risks for customers with changing infrastructure requirements.
Partners in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand can now offer the flexible consumption models to customers, in addition to Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea markets.
“The flexible consumption offerings will help partners by improving financing, earning more incentives and establishing greater control over the entire sales campaign and margin,” Ng summarised. “More importantly, the model will deliver flexible, simple and predictable ways for partners to help customers adopt emerging technologies to thrive in the digital economy.”
Channel Asia Evolve in Malaysia was in association with Dell Technologies.