IT Solution Providers have a vested interest in digital transformation, what effect it will have on their customer relationships and in turn, their businesses. Their opportunity lies in the new technologies and recurring revenue streams that the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing will create.
As businesses undergo these transformations, the new technologies they leverage will merge IT systems with operational technology (OT) systems, opening opportunities for IT Solution Providers to venture into new ground and forge innovative partnerships outside of the IT industry.
For instance, IT Solution Providers will soon be called on to integrate the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems which support office buildings, production lines in factories, medical equipment in hospitals and conveyor belts in warehouses into the corporate IT network.
At the same time, new digital technologies will be increasingly available, thanks to advances in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), next-generation robotics, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). They will make their way into nearly all vertical markets, from retail to banking to healthcare, but manifest themselves in different ways. For instance, soon we might start to see AR-equipped fitting rooms at retail stores with intelligent mirrors that let customers virtually try on clothes without physically having to wear them.
Partner Help Is Crucial
While customers may understand how digital transformation initiatives can help them improve operational efficiencies and enhance customer experience, the technology that enables these initiatives are often still an enigma…this is where partners have to become proficient in deploying and supporting the technologies that underlie these transformations.
For instance, their customers may not know why cloud computing is not appropriate for many of these technologies and that edge computing is critical in helping to shape business outcomes by placing processing power closer to the people and “things” that require that data. And they may not have considered how partners can help them manage those sites, especially since in recent years a lot of organizations have slimmed down their IT staffs because of budget considerations.
As they’ve reduced internal staffs, customers have asked IT solution providers to handle more of their IT environments. Now as IoT and edge computing deployments get under way, customers naturally will need to turn to partners to implement and manage the systems, applications and infrastructure. This is an opportunity tailor-made for Managed Service Providers (MSPs), since edge computing deployments will rely heavily on remote monitoring and management (RMM), something that MSPs do better than anyone.
It’s safe to say customers aren’t going to reverse the trend of outsourcing IT functions to partners. They don’t want to inflate their IT staffing budgets to accommodate IoT and edge computing initiatives. Instead, they’ll continue to tap partners to do the work, which means IoT and edge computing deployments will be largely dependent on getting the necessary technical help.
Partners Face Challenges
With new opportunities come some challenges. IoT requires a substantial amount of vertical expertise because it will primarily consist of applications and technologies which are used by specific industries in specific ways. IT Solution Providers by and large have been horizontal in approach, but going forward many will now have to make decisions on which vertical markets to focus on and go deep in their expertise.
In addition, where there is integration with systems outside of IT such as with HVAC and medical equipment, channel companies will either have to acquire new expertise or partner with companies that handle those systems.
Lastly, IT Solution Providers also have to cultivate relationships outside the IT department. Most IoT initiatives will start in departments outside IT, so it’s important to have those relationships and be able to address departmental needs in language they understand.
Edge Computing Opportunity
The edge computing opportunity not only ensures Certainty in a Connect World for customers looking to embrace digital transformation, but also creates a new growth and revenue opportunity for IT Solution Providers. As partners initiate discussions with customers about digital transformation, IoT and edge computing opportunities, they will need to have a game plan in place. We invite partners to develop this game plan by leveraging our collaborative solutions and technologies, partner programs and support infrastructure by clicking here.