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Part 2 of our roundup of 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 2 of our blog recap (here’s Part 1).

Microsoft Views Digital Transformation as a Big Deal

Digital transformation is a wave of business innovation fuelled by cloud technologies like the Internet of Things, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and big data, and big business has woken up to the possibilities which these exciting new technologies entail, not least Microsoft, which believes that it represents an estimated $4.5 trillion market opportunity.

To capitalize on digital transformation and cloud technologies, Microsoft has announced new programs, tools and resources to “help partners innovate, grow and differentiate their businesses” including a free version of Teams, new intelligent events capabilities, the Workplace Analytics teamwork solution, new cloud, apps and data technologies including Azure Data Box Disk, Azure Virtual WAN, Azure Firewall and more.

The intention is that Microsoft partners will leverage these new offerings to help customers embrace and innovate in the modern workplace and continue to help them in their journey to the cloud. It’s clear that Microsoft believes that partners will play a big role in its future success, and is supporting partners’ go-to-market efforts and helping ensure their solutions reach new customers.

Ecommerce is Growing Rapidly

ITWeb reports that 69% of active online adults shopped online in the past 12 months, bringing the total estimated spend in 2018 to R45.3 billion, a 19% increase from 2017. These statistics underscore how ecommerce has rapidly grown to become a major component of any distribution channel, and that resellers need to incorporate it into their channel strategies accordingly.

Microsoft Has New CSP Requirements

Direct CSPs must now purchase a support plan from Microsoft and demonstrate two key capabilities. One is that partners provide at least one managed service, intellectual property service or customer solution application. The other is that the partner must demonstrate a billing and provisioning infrastructure.

Inefficient Service Delivery and Inefficient Sales Processes are Two Major Pain Points for MSPs

A recent CompTIA survey of managed service providers (MSPs) and other channel partners revealed various operational pain points, with inefficient service delivery and inefficient sales processes ranking highly.

Resellers are Missing a Trick by Selling a Low Number of Subscription Services

By being transparent and vendor-neutral, as well as offering a wide-range of cloud subscription services, resellers can source the truly best solution for their end-users, earning their trust in the process. Having a multi-cloud offering also gives resellers an opportunity to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. Selling cloud software outside of the usual Office 365 suite not only opens a reseller up to potential new customers but also projects a tech-savvy image into the market.

Corporate IT Spend Will Continue to Shift Towards Cloud

According to Gartner, 28% of spending within key enterprise IT markets will shift to the cloud by 2022.

Packaged IP Delivers Value for Both Channel Businesses and Their Customers

Packaged IP delivers not only tailored customer solutions, but offers real business value for channel businesses as well, especially in terms of stickiness, cost reduction, recurring revenue and increased gross margins. A channel distribution platform, with its accuracy and speed, can make an efficient go-to-market mechanism for a company’s packaged IP solutions.

The Platform Business Model is Becoming Increasingly Popular

Not only do platform businesses have a speed and data advantage, but vendors are increasingly insisting on and leveraging global distributor platforms (or creating their own), whilst end-users expect to engage on sophisticated platforms which allow them to learn, shop, buy and service their purchases.

AWS and Microsoft are Opening New Data Centres in South Africa

Tech giants Amazon and Microsoft announced that they will be opening data centres in Cape Town and Johannesburg imminently, with Microsoft launching theirs first and AWS following in 2020. Along with the traditional cloud advantages of agility and flexibility, local consumers are excited about the potential of the data centres to overcome the traditional security, legal and regulation issues associated with offshore locations, as well as enjoying vastly improved latency. Will this spur further cloud migration and growth in the region?