One of the most highly anticipated reports of the year, CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2015, was published earlier this week and included some noteworthy mentions about the cloud, the channel, and the overall IT forecast. For starters, the global IT industry is projected to grow 5% this year, according to the report, which would put the U.S. IT market at $1.1 trillion by year’s end.
Another stat that caught my attention was the overall size of the IT channel in the U.S., which is 125,502. Equally surprising is that more than 110,000 (88%) of that total is composed of companies with fewer than 10 employees. Despite many predictions made by pundits in the past that the channel is going to shrink, it’s actually remained steady and a wide majority of IT executives (62%), predict that it’s going to grow.
With regard to some of the key drivers impacting the IT channel, the report offered the following advice:
Cloud, mobility and other technology trends are contributing factors in the fragmenting go-to-market model that the channel has hung its hat on for so long. Cloud and mobility each enable more direct delivery to customers, whether it is the push variety – vendor to customer – or of the pull sort, in which end customers determine what they want and self procure products, apps or services from the cloud. These developments don’t eliminate the need for an IT channel, but in many ways lessen the focus on reselling and moving product from distribution to end customer. Increasingly, regardless of how the underlying IT is bought, sold or delivered to market, channel firms will find it smart to adopt the role of influencer in the buying process.
Here’s the punchline I get from this report: the way end users purchase IT solutions is undergoing massive changes, which, among other things are putting less emphasis on how products are sold. If channel companies want to remain profitable in this new era and beyond, they need to become true trusted advisers skilled at influencing the buying decision and wrapping skilled services around these complex IT solutions.