Jay McBain, Principal Analyst of Channel Partnerships and Alliances at Forrester has just published his predictions for the Channel in 2021. Here’s a summary of his key points.

The future is K-shaped

We can expect to see a ‘K-shaped’ recovery in 2021 from those Vendors who have invested in Channel platforms and programmes during the Covid crisis. Their foresight will reward both vendors and partners with success over the next 12 months and beyond.

Vendors who have not thought to move away from the old resell model and have stuck with the usual end-to-end solutions are going to be overtaken in what is now a digital race.

Many vendors are starting a New Year feeling unprepared, playing catch up and struggling at the downward end of the K.

Success in 2021 will rely on teams and platforms adjusting and accommodating to new types of partners and solutions.

Ready, Steady, SaaS

There is an obvious shift in the industry towards a subscription-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, but not every Vendor is quite ready yet to make that switch.

McBain suggests that now is the time for Vendors and Partners to stop and strategically evaluate their Channel to work out the best opportunities for growth. Larger tech companies such as Microsoft and IBM are one step ahead and have already completed their evaluation process with IBM only this month announcing a substantial investment into their partner relationships and channel.

New Buyer Dynamic

Every customer now seems to have a need for speed making convenient and quality delivery now a priority for every vendor.

Vendors now need to consider this new buyer dynamic in every decision about how their technology gets sold promoted and serviced.

Customers also have new priorities, the home tech they need to supply to their employees is very different to office based systems. This offers a golden opportunity for the channel.

Adapt and Thrive

The positive message that we can take away from McBains analysis and predictions is that he is confidently predicting growth in the channel in the short and longer-term.

It’s been 12 months of relentless change and it’s been positive to see many Vendors and their partners adapt, change and succeed despite many challenges.

Analysis, adaptability and innovation are all words that Vendors and Partners need to live by going into 2021 and beyond if they want to capitalize on the opportunities that this ‘new normal’ now present.

You can read more of Jay McBain’s 2021 predictions here.

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