March 18, 2015 Leave a comment
IT trade shows represent an interesting barometer on market conditions and this week’s Convergence Summit North suggests that there are sunnier prospects for cloud ahead! Here’s a quick personal round-up of some of the facts, views and people that caught my attention. First a subject close to my heart – the changing buying-selling landscape. Ian Hunter, editor of CommsBusiness got the ball rolling in his opening seminar, quoting Lucy Green of Larato’s findings that telemarketing just isn’t working for many partners and pointing to Gartner research on the declining significance of the reseller. It became a key topic in our panel debate on ‘Cloud sales opportunities for resellers’. My fellow panellists agreed sales teams need to be more commercial and business outcomes-led in their approach. Selling features and being a nice guy or gal just won’t cut it. I tend to agree with Lucy Green’s experience that the biggest competitor in the market right now is ‘no decision’. That’s probably at least partly due to the fact both suppliers and buyers struggle to identify compelling and relevant business cases and, as Paul Bryce of Node 4 pointed out, to map the right journey. Turning attention to technology, the ‘Collaboration apps in action’ session was all about video. Tim Stone of Polycom highlighted the need for video to be simple and not prohibitive in upfront costs or effort and suggested that finally that may becoming reality. It can’t come soon enough for the SMB, according to Graham Harris of Daisy. SMBs want and need to change the way they work and communicate – particularly with external parties. Meanwhile, in the exhibition hall there was a good buzz and talking with people like John Whitty of GCI (one of my fellow panellists) and David Green of 8×8, a general optimism about the market and growth in cloud adoption. This optimism was backed up in Alex Hilton’s Cloud Industry Forum presentation. In a climate of increasing cloud adoption, there are still 61% of companies using Windows Server 2003 which reaches end of support in July and the CIF forecasts a 90% increase in cloud adoption as a result. It’s not all cloud-cloud-cloud though. The unsurprising but clear headline news is that 80% of companies are pursuing a long-term hybrid IT strategy. Finally, these events are great for catching up with familiar faces like Richard Crossland of Alfred Ashley Group and Carl Taylor of Adepteo. I worked with Carl many years ago and it’s interesting to see how the professionalism and customer values instilled in us way back then are still guiding us today in a very different world. Ian Hunter asked what earth shattering developments had happened in the sector since the last summit and most of the responses were about incremental improvements. As Carl pointed out, we might really be the lucky generation to have lived through the incredible technology innovations of the last 20+ years and be able to appreciate first-hand how technology has changed our lives – and still have the energy and excitement to grasp the next wave of opportunity and earth-shattering change. As I said at the start, the future is looking up!