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Ensuring Digital Resilience will be Key for a Successful Acceleration in 2021

Alex Pope •

Takeaways from Vertiv’s EMEA Channel Summit 2020

Vertiv’s digital Channel Summit brought together more than 660 Vertiv partners across EMEA to discuss the latest market insights, revolving around an Edge-led digital acceleration and a race for digital resilience. These discussions, including insight from Dell, Canalys, CONTEXT and CRN, explored the latest thinking on the state of the Channel in Q4. The event also covered the biggest customer-led trends plus the opportunities and challenges the Channel will experience as 2021 approaches. Outlined below, are the key takeaways from the experts.

There will be no Digital Transformation without Digital Resilience

2020 has had its fair share of challenges. In the short-term, business disruption and budget cuts impacted the Channel, but the repercussions of the pandemic will no doubt continue into 2021.

To start the new year on the right foot, the Channel must master the balance between digital acceleration and resilience. For example, the sudden transition to home working caused a surge in digital transformation in Q2. Yet, this has also led to an increase in security concerns. So much so, that between January and April this year, Interpol reported some 907,000 spam messages, 737 incidents related to malware and 48,000 malicious URLs all related to COVID-19.

From February to March 2020, a 569 percent growth in malicious registrations, including malware and phishing, and a 788 percent growth in high-risk registrations were detected and reported to Interpol by a private sector partner. The Channel can help customers address these concerns and add value by pre-empting the impact of this transformation and helping businesses manage these risks.

Margarete McGrath, chief digital officer, Dell Technologies UK, suggests that there is a clear link between business, operational and cyber resilience. Ultimately, businesses are investing in resilience across the board and will need to work with third parties to create a robust and secure ecosystem that can flex as the world around us continues to be reshaped.

Customers will be looking for partners to guide them through this process to ensure current and future projects are secure, resilient and adaptable around the new challenges that may lie ahead. There is a real opportunity here for partners to offer value through consulting customers on securing their IT infrastructure at the same time as evolving it for the business landscape in 2021 and beyond.

The Network Edge Is on the Rise

Customers are experiencing what Dell Technologies UK refers to as a ‘pandemic pivot’. Companies are being forced to change from an analog business model to a digital one. This means customers are looking for technologies that drive faster decision-making and quicker workflows. Many are turning to the cloud for these resources, with cloud spending increasing by a staggering 37% during the first quarter of 2020, according to Margarete McGrath.

This adoption has driven investment in edge infrastructure too. While the network edge remains a smaller part of the infrastructure market overall, according to research from Canalys, 35% of partners said they saw customers’ edge investments grow. Furthermore, 35% said they were only making selective network edge investments in 2020. Therefore, as businesses look to AR, VR and a host of other IoT technologies as a means to engage and communicate remotely, it is agreed that the rising demand for edge infrastructure will no doubt pick up as we head into 2021.

Redefining Relationships

No matter whether you are a vendor, partner, or customer, it’s safe to say that 2020 has highlighted the importance of strong relationships in the Channel.

All parties have gone through very similar challenges in the past months and have therefore been forced to adapt their working relationships. Whilst vendor and Channel teams relied heavily on building relationships face-to-face, the pandemic has forced them to communicate and collaborate through IT.

Vertiv has been playing its part in helping strengthen relationships in the Channel through introducing its new Partner Portal. Offering a more refined experience, this platform provides easy access to the tools partners use the most: clear contact information, online trainings, and an accessible overview of partner tiers and VIP points at a glance.

Cautious Optimism

Partners are looking at 2021 with cautious optimism. Robin Ody, senior analyst at Canalys, suggests that Channel partners are seeing pipelines increasing roughly in line with current spending and are hopeful for good spending on the network edge in 2021. Supporting remote working will remain one of business’s biggest focuses. Companies will continue to address security challenges and look for new opportunities to keep people connected; such as investment in edge infrastructure and capitalising on the rollout of 5G.

Ultimately, Channel partners and customers are adapting together as businesses must plan to be flexible for the future. The sudden disruption of the pandemic meant customers had to be understanding as the Channel figured out how to best offer support; yet partners should bear in mind that they may not be as tolerant next time round, as Paul Stringfellow, technical director, Gardner Systems mentioned. We are now in a ‘new normal’ and businesses are getting used to uncertain times. The Channel must continue to meet evolving customer expectations and be prepared for the next challenges ahead.

Missed out on the fun? Watch our event highlights video or catch-up on the full discussions from the EMEA Channel Summit by joining the sessions on-demand here. To learn more about the latest Channel trends and what Vertiv has got up its sleeve for 2021, check out our LinkedIn page.

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