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Citrix 2022 Predictions: The Role of Channel Partners in The Future of Digital Transformation

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

The Role of Channel Partners in The Future of Digital Transformation

By Ethan Fitzsimons, Chief Operating Officer, Citrix Worldwide Partner Sales and Ecosystems, Citrix

The pace of change in business shows no sign of slowing in 2022. Over the last year, we have seen a rapid shift to a distributed workforce and the resulting accelerated adoption of new technologies that have forever altered traditional business operations. With change comes the need for adaptation and the truth is that for organizations to remain competitive in the modern business landscape, digital transformation is a necessity.

According to IDC, direct digital transformation investment is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 15.5% from 2020 to 2023 and is expected to approach $6.8 trillion as companies build on existing strategies and investments, becoming digital-at-scale future enterprises. Alongside this digital transformation, the role of channel partners has also evolved. Acting more as ‘business consultants', channel partners have become critical in helping organizations meet new challenges and innovate to stay ahead of the competition.

From the transformation of the channel ecosystem to the growing need for proactive cybersecurity measures, here are my top predictions for 2022.

1)      The transformation of business models & the channel ecosystem: In 2022, we'll see further adoption and engagement around marketplaces as a strategic initiative. Marketplaces not only offer vendors and channel partners a lower-cost way to enter new markets, but they also enable them to deliver increased value to customers. The continued development of marketplaces in 2022 will empower more businesses to explore a variety of offerings while reducing the cost and complexity that comes with traditional channel sales.

In tandem, the channel ecosystem itself is changing. Rather than honing in on one specialty, partners are becoming general service technology providers who can offer a range of solutions. This diversity of solutions results in a superior customer experience and creates new roles and opportunities for channel partners. For example, a value-added reseller (VAR) no longer just resells; they might host, provide a managed service, build custom applications or productized service offerings.

To maximize on efforts in this environment, channel partners must ensure that they provide both a variety of tech solutions as well as in-depth expertise within the areas most valued by customers.

2)      A proliferation of SaaS and cloud models: What's driving this business model and ecosystem transformation? Simply, it's the acceleration and proliferation of SaaS and cloud technology models. While we have been talking about cloud computing for nearly a decade, it is now ubiquitous and will continue to become the business standard in 2022. The way I see it, the traditional, on-premises approach to operating a business will become the exception rather than the rule. Moving forward, companies will be looking for ways to be more effective and efficient at leveraging hyperscale cloud computing while also seeking more agile models around consumption and usage.

3)      More proactive approaches to security: Global businesses have reached a point where they need to continuously quantify the risk of a cybersecurity attack. While once a difficult conversation, it has become easier as we all continue to witness the disastrous impacts of high-profile security breaches.

In 2022, businesses will need to be proactive about security, rather than taking a ‘band aid' approach. Relying on a ‘moat' as the security perimeter has frankly become a liability. However, a more aggressive and proactive security approach must not impede on the employee experience. Instead, it should bolster it, because let's face it: the need for a great employee experience has never been more important. As organizations continue to navigate the disruption wrought by the pandemic, the employee experience must remain at the center of the enterprise.

4)      An influx of predictive analytics & AI improves network visibility: How can organizations shift to a proactive mindset to mitigate security issues or other potential business challenges, especially as employees continue to work in a hybrid environment? Implementing AI and predictive analytics into their operations is a good first step.

Over the past two to three years, we have seen an explosion of partners incorporating analytics into ‘non-traditional' areas of a customer's business. As companies become more effective at monetizing data, they are also finding new ways to consume and share it. As a result, there has been a seismic shift in thought around how data can be utilized. Now, data sharing among corporations is the norm, and it's helping with visibility into user behavior and network performance.

With increased access to data and analytics, businesses have the power to improve services for their workforce and proactively identify threats (security or otherwise) before they have the opportunity to do any damage.

Forward-Thinking Investment Pays Off

The need for digital transformation and higher-than-ever customer expectations will be the undercurrent of most business and channel-specific developments in the new year. As customers demand more, business models will need to continuously evolve to remove strife and provide more seamless and valuable experiences.

The good news? Investments in digital technologies pays off. In fact, our recent research found that investments in new technology and flexible work models over the last year fueled a $678 billion boost in revenue across industries around the world. With the stage set for continued growth, businesses must work to catch up with the rapid transformations of the last two years and continue to evolve to be prepared for (or get ahead of) the next big disruption.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ethan Fitzsimons, Chief Operating Officer, Citrix Worldwide Partner Sales and Ecosystems, Citrix

Ethan Fitzsimons 

As Chief Operating Officer, Citrix Worldwide Partner Sales and Ecosystems, Ethan Fitzsimons is responsible for the Citrix WW partner and ecosystems COO organization including go-to-market strategy, programs, governance, and compliance. Ethan is driven to ensure Citrix partners of all types can realize high returns on investment for themselves and their customers along with a world-class partner experience working with Citrix.

Prior to joining Citrix, Ethan held leadership positions at Informatica, Tech Data and Avnet Technology Solutions with years of experience in information technology across all industries. In these roles he gained exceptional expertise working with world class ecosystems of partners, optimizing investments, improving customer experiences and transforming the industry with digital innovation while driving profitable growth.  

Published Tuesday, November 23, 2021 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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