Where are the opportunities for the channel in 2019? Dave Hazard, Vice President, EMEIA Channel and Sales Operations, takes a look at the most promising avenues to pursue
Despite the pressures that always exist in the channel, there are some exciting new opportunities for revenue growth out there. Fujitsu is well placed in these technologies and markets and is working with partners in the channel to create mutually profitable possibilities.
Catching the edge
Adoption of IoT will continue its steady progress out to the edge. Both network edge computing and edge data gathering will continue to grow in importance, driven in part by the advent of 5G networks but also by the growing demand for compute-intensive applications – such as AI and analytics – near the point of use and where latency is not an option. Helping businesses fully leverage this potential represents low hanging fruit for those partners with the appropriate skills, but it’s not too late for others to acquire the relevant expertise.
We’re currently looking to increase the numbers of partners with these capabilities – which we aim to achieve with a combination of recruiting those with IoT Edge consultancy skills and by nurturing existing partners. Fujitsu’s unique capabilities in this field stem from many years at the forefront of IoT development in Japan – a country known for being one step ahead in terms of mobile technologies.
Hybrid cloud is an opportunity for the channel
The next year also represents a significant opportunity for the channel to help businesses manage hybrid environments as they transition some of their key workloads to the cloud. Much as most enterprises would like to become cloud-native, the reality is that many have considerable investment sunk into the on-premise hardware they continue to rely on, making hybrid environments an attractive option. However, most need help managing the complexity.
Fujitsu’s partners are perfectly positioned to help businesses with our extensive portfolio of Hybrid IT solution, for example, PRIMEFLEX for Microsoft Azure Stack, supported by extensive training and assistance.
A transition back to two-supplier model for end-point devices
Recent CPU supply chain issues have caused pent up market demand – which is likely to drive growth in 2019 for endpoint devices including PCs, laptops, workstations, tablets, and IoT devices. To meet the demand, enterprises are likely to return to a two-supplier model, which will also deliver increased choice for customers. This, of course, represents new business opportunities for Fujitsu channel partners.
The blockchain is on the cusp of becoming reality
We’ve been seeing three-year cycles over the last decade where technologies, such as cloud, IoT, or AI move from being over-hyped and under-deployed to the mainstream. The next up to reach maturity in this cycle is blockchain, which I believe will transition from today’s hype candidate to enterprise reality in the next 12-18 months. This will be driven by its ability to automate and manage contract record flow and authentication. The implications for the channel are that we will start seeing blockchain entering into supply chains, but also channel businesses will be increasingly called upon to assist with deployments in key vertical sectors. Banking and the financial sector will take growing advantage of its distributed ledger characteristics (notably not the crypto-currencies) but retail is also likely to be an early adopter.
We’re on hand to help partners acquire both a deep understanding of the technologies but also the specific requirements of the key vertical sectors that would most benefit from them.
Skills shortages continue to be very real
The underlying theme in each of these opportunities is that the demand for key skills will continue to outpace availability during 2019. As more and more businesses undertake digital transformation, they will increasingly require employees with specific capabilities to help them leverage new technologies. However, recent research we’ve undertaken suggests that many current businesses are likely to struggle to attract and retain people with the skills they need as their workplace environments continue to fall short of workers’ expectations.
At Fujitsu, we’re not only helping our customers to leverage technology to create attractive, flexible workplaces, but we’re also working hard to address the skills shortage – our investment in Innovation centers focused on key technologies including AI, Blockchain and Industry 4.0 gives our customers and partners access to the digital skills and development opportunities they need to be successful.
For channel partners looking to prosper in 2019, Fujitsu offers access to technologies, resources, and training that can make it a year of successful growth for you.