Tag Archives: IT Channel

Attracting and retaining talent in the Channel

Guest blog by Jessica Hadleigh, Marketing Manager at Thames Distribution Ltd

Last Tuesday, I was lucky enough to be invited to be part of a panel at the new format Channel Live conference, discussing a topic that I am very passionate about; attracting and retaining new talent into the tech channel.

Hosted by Adam Simon, the Global Managing Director of CONTEXT, the panel was truly a wealth of experience that included David Jones, Chief People Officer of Daisy Group, Leon Conway, Co-founder of Channel People, David Pitts, Partner and Founder of Trust Business Partners, and myself.

Our industry is constantly evolving and with every new advancement – technological or otherwise – comes the need for a new skillset to keep our businesses current. Continue reading

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Filed under Enterprise IT, IT Distribution, Market Analysis

Latin American Consumers Ready for Smart Home

Over three quarters of consumers surveyed in Latin America’s leading economies say they want to know more about Smart Home products, according to CONTEXT’s new survey. With no one retailer dominating the Smart Home market in the countries surveyed, this potential demand for the new global wave in technology products and services presents significant opportunities for the IT channel in Latin America.

Carried out in January 2017, the CONTEXT Survey was announced at the Global Technology Distribution Council Latin American IT Distribution Summit in Miami, USA, and covered 2,000 consumers in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.

The general picture for Smart Homes in these countries with a combined GDP of $USD4.4TN is good, with an encouraging level of awareness. However, it is clear that this awareness is not rooted in a deep understanding of the concept. This is partly down to limited exposure to Smart Home products or ideas, with very few people seeing or hearing things about Smart Home on a regular basis.

Such limited exposure is hardly surprising, given that no one channel is doing a good job of explaining or showcasing the concept. Where people have picked up on Smart Home, it tends to be from online sites – both retailers’ and manufacturers’ – rather than from in-person contact via things like store displays. This limits the degree to which consumers can interact and engage with Smart Home products.

As well as highlighting the opportunities, the CONTEXT Survey found that worries surrounding the idea of the Smart Home are prevalent, with 9 out of 10 people having at least one concern. Some of these are serious, including views that products may malfunction, causing harm or damage to the home. Privacy concerns and a fear of identity theft are also high on the list of worries.

When asked what user scenarios were encouraging them to buy Smart Home products, the top three responses were “arriving home”, “waking up”, and “advanced security”. In terms of the Smart Home hubs people would be most likely to trust, the Survey found that while there are variations across different countries, Apple, Amazon and Google dominate. Amazon has a clear lead in Brazil, while Apple leads in Mexico and Chile. Google is in the lead in Argentina.

In summary, despite the lack of deep knowledge and the barriers this creates, the good news is that across all countries there is an appetite to learn more. This is especially in terms of how they can save money, and how they can make home living more enjoyable, easier and better.

by JD

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Filed under Connectivity, Home automation, IoT, Smart Home, Smart Technology

Channel to Print Vendors: Clearer labeling is needed!

According to the latest CONTEXT ChannelWatch, European channel players believe print manufacturers could do “a lot more” to stop counterfeit toner cartridges flooding the market.

The call to action for vendors to label their products better comes from over 2,000 business owners and senior managers at key channel businesses across Western Europe. The in-depth report is compiled from interviews with these organisations including resellers, vendors, retailers and distributors.

When asked who they thought could do the most to stop the growing problem of illegal printer consumables in the region, a clear majority (55%) claimed print vendors could do “a lot more”, although a significant minority claimed the channel (37%) and government (35%) could do the same.

When it came to government, however, a large number of respondents (30%) claimed they “don’t know” what role it should take.

The problem as the channel sees it lies in the packaging of illegal toner cartridges.

Over half (58%) of resellers told us it would be easy for them to spot counterfeits, but just 15% of them said they thought it would be simple for their customers.

Clearly labelled packaging (73%) for re-manufactured and legal compatibles was called out as the best solution to the counterfeit problem amongst other suggestions.

Some major print vendors are taking the initiative, raising public awareness, training channel partners, monitoring sales via distribution channels, and most importantly – seizing counterfeit goods and taking their manufacturers and resellers to court.

HP Inc. seized more than 12 million items and enforced over 1800 actions across EMEA between 2011 and 2015, while Kyocera seized €10m worth of counterfeit goods in FY 2015. But between just April and May this year Kyocera reported the capture of goods worth over €5m – an indication of the escalating scale of the problem.

Some vendors have also responded with secure holographic seals, serial numbers and other innovative features to help distinguish genuine from counterfeit products.

The new ChannelWatch report from CONTEXT covers this and other key channel trends in detail, shining an important light on what resellers from the UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Italy really think. To request a copy of the report or to speak to someone, please contact tgibbons@contextworld.com.

by TG




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3D Printing: Challenges for the IT Channel

Industry analysts are often asked about the “tipping points” for various technologies. The active involvement of the $135bnIT global distribution market may just be one of the major elements that creates such a tipping point for 3D printing.

But there are challenges on both sides of this equation. For major broad-line distributors, many 3D printer companies are just too small to deal with or are too unfamiliar with the IT channel to bother with at the moment. For the manufacturers of the relatively new breed of personal/desktop 3D printers (those mostly under $5K), the IT channel is a strange, gigantic, unknown entity with rigid terms and conditions, which seem unfriendly to newcomers.

Even 3D-printer vendors who have operated in the professional space with larger, more expensive printers seem to be happy with their legacy direct resellers, many of whom they have been partnered with for decades. But the hype of 3D printing over the last few years and the emergence of this desktop/personal breed of 3D Printers (which, to the channel, act and feel much as any other PC peripheral) potentially calls into question the ability of legacy distribution to push the industry to the next level. The technology keeps getting better and the lines between desktop and professional 3D printers continue to blur, but good products are only part of the marketing mix: the industry seems to be begging more and more each day for a closer relationship between 3D printer companies – new and old – and the IT channel.

The entrance into the market of long-time industry stalwart HP will help. HP knows the IT channel and the IT channel knows HP. HP Inc’s entrance into this market in 2016 will be from the PC side of the split company and will continue to legitimize the technology both on a broad level and within IT circles. This entry will be in the professional space, not the desktop printer space; however, many assume that HP desktop 3D printers will not be too far behind as both the PC industry and HP desperately search for new areas of growth.

While HP’s entrance into the market may indeed be a tipping point, strides are already being made in the nascent desktop 3D printer market, with the top brand in the space, XYZprinting, being an excellent example of this. Part of this company’s success can be attributed to its familiarity with the IT channel through other products in their portfolio, which allows it to quickly place its 3D printers in the global IT distribution market. Stratasys/MakerBot has also been seen to be embracing the channel more, as has 3D Systems (and vice versa: the channel is embracing them). Regional brands can also be found in IT distribution across the globe, collectively allowing this segment to see a 249% year-on-year growth in sell-through from Q2 2014 to Q2 2015 in the EMEA region alone.

So, as the IT channel continues to look for ways to grow beyond single-digit rates and 3D printing looks for ways to get printers into the hands of SMBs, educational institutions, engineering labs and the like, it seems inconceivable that the two cannot grow together.

by CC

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Filed under 3D Printing, Imaging, Market Analysis

Opportunity knocks for the Channel in IP Camera market

by Alex Mesguich, VP of Enterprise Research

The IP camera market has reached a tipping point in Europe, accounting for around half of all revenue from surveillance and security camera sales. This is mainly due to businesses looking to migrate from legacy CCTV technology.

In addition to legacy systems being discarded, a number of key events have shaped the IP cameras and connected home markets over the last year including Nest’s acquisition of DropCam. With a impressive year-on-year unit sales growth over the last couple of years, we anticipate more mergers in the IP camera space where smaller, specialist players are snapped up by larger IT electronics giants wanting a piece of the cake in this area.

Amongst the European countries, France has been the largest market in Europe, accounting for an 18% share with the UK third (12%).

D-Link is by far the largest vendor of IP cameras in Europe, having steadily grown its market share from 2012 (58%), to 2013 (66%) and 2014 (68%).

For the IT channel, this is good news indeed with many of the IT solution and managed service providers jumping on the IP video surveillance trend. The popularity of IP based video surveillance cameras that offer high quality video and in-built recorders is set to stay. Particular hotspots for IP surveillance sales will be end user application areas such as transportation as well as retail, education hospitality and healthcare.

CONTEXT has launched a new category to the CONTEXT SalesWatch Distribution reporting specifically for IP Cameras. For more information please visit the website.

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Filed under Connectivity, IP cameras

IT Business awards, Germany

A week ago, we attended the prestigious Distribution Awards run by IT-Business in Augsburg, Germany. The event is held on an annual basis showcasing the crème de la crème of distribution in Germany. This year, we were proud to have been one of the sponsors and we enjoyed taking part in this exclusive gala event to see who the IT industry rated the most.

The award categories, presented to the winning Channel/Distribution team, included:

  • Value Added Distributor
  • IT-Security & Network technology
  • Server & Storage
  • Desktops & Notebooks
  • Vitrtualisation
  • SaaS & Cloud Computing
  • Components
  • Periphery
  • Telecommunications
  • Broadliner

And the proud winners were:


On the night, we had interesting conversations with Managing Directors of key German distributors as well as Channel Managers of the leading IT vendors. 
The channel representatives from the vendor community once again confirmed how important the indirect sales model is and what a key role it continues to play. One topic discussed most during the evening, was how fiercely competitive the market in Germany is. 2014 saw a number of distributors go bankrupt as well as a series of acquisitions and mergers. The message of the night was clear and in line with the traditional distribution model: Get big, get niche or get out.

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As cloud-based technology quickens in pace, Jeremy Davies asks: “Are Resellers prepared for the Cloud?”

If you are like me, and have been around for a while, the next mention of anything to do with “Cloud” will either have you shaking your head and thinking “here we go again,”  trying politely to stifle a yawn, or – like Wordsworth – wandering lonely as a cloud in the eternal debate on where this is leading us.  So much has been written, so much hot air expelled, that it’s difficult to get beyond the hype generated by pundits, soothsayers and venerable Industry Analysts as they attempt to chart and predict the future of what everyone is sure is the IT world’s The Next Big Thing.

The enterprise Cloud businesses are already clearly marked out, we know where that is today and where its going. But as far as a broader adoption goes, and leaving aside any consumer debate, it’s SMBs and the Channel that serves them that will determine how big the Cloud business gets. Today,  it’s still somewhat diffuse as IT distributors attempt to cash in, with several across Europe launching efforts to set up Cloud divisions, but these are early days and the results a while off yet.

But there is one indicator of where resellers, SMB and Cloud are heading, and that is to look closely at what real people are doing.  At a recent European IT Channel trade event, my eye was caught by what I can only describe as a scrum milling around a leading software distributor’s stand. In fact, it was the busiest part of the trade show floor. I walked over, fully expecting to cash in on whatever freebie was on offer.  The distributor was offering were pre-packaged Cloud solutions specifically designed for resellers to offer their SMB customers. The offer was clear, pricing was attractive, and it hit the right spot with resellers anxious to capitalise on their customers’ growing acceptance of Cloud in their businesses. There were twelve neatly packaged solutions, ranging from back-up (of course), storage, security, video conferencing and virtual office. Each application was clearly explained, along with a list of the suppliers who made up the components of the whole offer. On the distributor’s web site, there are videos explaining the service.

And that’s what was attracting the resellers in droves. It was clear, it related directly to business solutions they’re dealing with already, and all the work had been done to integrate the different services into the solution.

Are resellers prepared? Of course they are. It’s up to their Distributors to create the right packages.

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