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We roundup the main stories which featured on our blog throughout 2018.

2018 is almost over, which means it’s time to take stock and recap some of the highlights which we’ve featured on our blog this year.

Welcome to Part 1 of our blog recap – let’s dive right in. (You can find Part 2 here).

Microsoft’s CSP Programme Continues to Grow and Evolve

Three years after Microsoft introduced its CSP programme, the number of strategic partners supporting the CSP partner community is continuing to expand. Growth in the CSP programme has also led to an ever-increasing diversity in business models and solution providers, as well as opening up new revenue models for those willing to invest in the cloud space.

Currently there are various types of indirect provider, including distributors, broader cloud resellers, CSP specialists, licensing solution providers and MS Dynamics specialists.

Partners can expect Microsoft to keep expanding the programme’s scope to include even more products in future.

Vendors are Contributing to Evolving Channel Structures

IT channel structures are evolving, and vendors are playing their part in this channel change. Riverbed’s Rise channel programme is an example of a traditional IT vendor moving away from a traditional, compliance-based program with rewards tied to certifications and revenue that needs heavy up-front and ongoing investment by partners to maintain compliance and tier status.

Instead the new programme is indicative of a shift to new performance-based programmes designed to reward all types of partners, business models and various customer technology consumption preferences.

Using LinkedIn Should be a Priority for Channel Businesses

For IT channel companies, LinkedIn remains a very influential media via which to conduct business, as various statistics show.

IT businesses should be looking to utilize LinkedIn to drive value in the following four key areas, namely:

  • Networking
  • Marketing
  • Recruiting
  • Knowledge

Distributors Were Optimistic Regarding 2018

A survey-based report by the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) revealed that distributors were optimistic about 2018, and were forging inroads into new technology markets via updated services and solutions.

Distributors were moving toward a platform-based approach, leveraging new integration capabilities to provide larger solutions, whether it be security, cloud, hyper-convergence or other platform-based technologies.

Product Bundling Can be a Useful Strategy for IT Channel Businesses

Offering several products or services for sale as one combined product or service package (known as ‘bundling’) is becoming an increasingly important go-to-market strategy for channel businesses as traditional categories soften around the edges and businesses move their operations to the cloud.

This hasn’t escaped the notice of channel intermediaries – MSPs and CSPs are increasingly making use of the strategy.

CRM is Growing Rapidly, Whilst Being Influenced by AI & Machine Learning

CRM has now become the world’s largest software market according to Gartner. Worldwide CRM software revenue amounted to $39.5 billion in 2017 overtaking database management systems revenue, which reached $36.8 billion in the same year. “In 2018, CRM software revenue will continue to take the lead of all software markets and be the fastest growing software market with a growth rate of 16 percent,” said Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner.

MSPs are Needing to Adapt to New Market Conditions

MSPs need to keep up with transformational changes, because technology is moving so fast and spreads so ubiquitously. Changes to the MSP space are leading some MSPs to specialise in a vertical, technical speciality, or demographic, finding their own particular way to engage with the market, and not be ‘all things to all men’. The core role of the MSP always has been, and will continue to be, that of the trusted advisor.

The Platform Business is the IT Channel’s Latest Disruption

Platform businesses are becoming increasingly commonplace. Within the IT channel, vendors can insist on and leverage global distributor platforms (or create their own), whilst end-users expect to engage on sophisticated platforms which allow them to learn, shop, buy and service their purchases.