Having weathered the storm of 2020, Australian businesses can look forward to year of recovery and growth ahead. As noted by the Lowy Institute Australia is well positioned for that recovery and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Australia's economy to do much better than most advanced economies.
Much of the growth and opportunity will be found through IT. Businesses needed to rapidly transform and innovate through 2020, in order to allow operations to continue, even as offices were closed and social distancing become mandatory. IBISWorld research shows that over 35 per cent of Australian businesses have changed how they provide products or services to the customers in response to the pandemic. Those investments, transformations and changes that the businesses undertook have now set them well for innovation moving forwards.
However, as noted by the CSIRO, while digital is a pathway to recovery for Australia across data utilisation, data proliferation and sharing, and risk management and business continuity, businesses will still need support in fully capitalising on these opportunities.
“How can the sector assist communities and businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, in digital transition and build trust in the equitable use and adoption of digital technologies,” the CSIRO report notes.
It’s the channel’s role to help enterprises navigate the ongoing challenges and disruption that will come through the global recovery, as well as find the opportunities to leverage technology further. For the channel, preparedness and ongoing engagement will be key in architecting and building solutions that are forward-thinking in increasingly complex environments. To be able to do that, they need a distribution partner that is able to “cut through” and deliver value.
What true value-adding distribution looks like
One significant consequence of the disruption of the past year has been in global supply chains. Right from the first outbreak of the pandemic it was clear that supply chains would be disrupted and challenging. “one thing is for certain—it will have global economic and financial ramifications that will be felt through global supply chains, from raw materials to finished products,” A Deloitte report surmised.
Locally, channel partners will need a distributor with global reach and capacity to keep their supply chains robust. However, it’s just as important that a distribution partner is able to focus on the details and have an understanding of the conditions in the local market. Global distribution businesses run the risk of becoming pure fulfilment stories, but at a time where customers are undergoing severe disruption and are needing to undertake transformation activities, the channel needs distributors that can work with agility, help to build holistic solutions, and invest into the education, consulting and audit services that channel partners need to undertake currently.
What value-added distribution looks like in 2021
Across each of its areas of competency – data centre, infrastructure, collaboration and security, Westcon-Comstor solutions are specifically targeted towards addressing the challenges that businesses will be facing with solutions that build both resilience and competitive advantage. While it is a global company with the kind of reach and competency that partners need to navigate the challenging supply chain for the year head, Westcon-Comstor is also locally-focused, providing services that are tailored to the local conditions and that understand the challenges that partners face to their own businesses. These services include:
- Education – providing partners with certification and accreditation support to help them move up the partner tiers and engage more deeply with tier-1 vendors.
- Financial support – assisting partners with their cashflow challenges through the disruption and as they transition their own businesses.
- Professional support – partners can leverage the expertise of Westcon-Comstor’s technical team to design, deploy and optimise better solutions for their customers.
- Digital distribution – partners are increasingly being called on to accelerate AI, automation, blockchain, big data, cloud, IoT and edge computing applications within their customers. Westcon-Comstor assists partners with these new procurement models and to assist the partner to make the shift to recurring revenues and managed services.
Enterprises are well aware of the need to plan for the “rebound” that is expected in 2021, and that the next year will cause more disruption to those businesses that can’t adapt to the new ways of working and expectations that consumers now have for the digital-first experience. Gartner is predicting that enterprise IT spending will grow by 3.6 per cent in 2021, which is significantly greater growth than the 2.8 per cent decline that was experienced in 2020.
This acceleration in spending is going to drive a lot of opportunity for the channel, and a need for renewed focus on innovation and creative solutions. Westcon-Comstor’s solutions and vendor partners are uniquely positioned to address the complex and dynamic needs of the market, and the company’s commitment to enabling the channel will help their partners achieve positions of true leadership with their customers in the new year.