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Trends Canadian channel partners should care about in 2017
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Trends Canadian channel partners should care about in 2017 

The difficult part is figuring out which emerging trends can be turned into immediate revenue opportunities for solution providers.

In a rapidly changing IT landscape (and world for that matter), here are the biggest emerging trends IT manufacturers are facing over the next 12 months and why each one is an exciting opportunity for solution providers.

Consumer sexy and commercial ready

The consumerization of IT is far from a new trend, but much of its impact hasn’t yet been addressed by Canadian enterprises. “Mobile first” has moved beyond millennials and is now the norm across many generations of enterprise workers. This means the majority of users are reaching for their mobile device even when other computing devices (ie. desktop) are in reach.

However, many Canadian employees are using three or more devices on the job, which results in lowered productivity as they are continually stopping and starting, sending data between their various devices. For IT, device management costs have increased and the resources that might have gone toward deploying innovative new mobile apps or other services to improve the business are simply going to keep the lights on.

At the same time, employees are beginning to realize that technology is a badge of honour at work. In fact, it’s an extension of a company’s brand or corporate culture. Our internal research has found that 82 per cent of IT decision makers feel the technology employees carry is a reflection of their company.

With design cited as an important part of the decision-making process for both employees and IT decision makers, business leaders will increasingly look at ways to use the technology they deploy to attract and retain talent.

For solution providers, the key takeaway here is taking advantage of the desire for thinner and lighter computing devices in the enterprise as well as the needs of a “mobile first” workforce.

Some of today’s commercial devices now rival consumer ones in the sleek and stunning category, however, the business mobile computing devices of the future also need to give employees a secure, simple and seamless user experience. At the same time, they must address the fact that much of the workforce is using and switching between too many devices in the office.

Solution providers should be looking to help their customers deploy business-focused mobile devices, such as new 3-in-1 devices, which are versatile enough to pull double or triple duty as a phone, tablet and fully-functional PC when needed. This new device category is gaining interest among Canadian enterprises as it limits the amount of devices they need to support, while giving employees access to a sleek looking, powerful and more versatile mobile computing device.

Protecting the office of the future

The office of the future is a workplace with no barriers to productivity and collaboration between staff. Today, work moves between mobile devices, laptops and even home computers, as employees are connecting to corporate networks remotely. And in the office, the work environments are rapidly shifting toward shared working spaces and open floor plans.

We have seen that organizations are far less concerned or confident with the measures they have in place to prevent printer-related security breaches compared to other end user devices such as mobile phones. This sentiment is backed up by recent internal data HP Inc. commissioned from IDC Canada, in which 150 Canadian IT security decision makers were surveyed. The survey found that respondents in industry verticals such as legal, real estate and healthcare need to take print security more seriously and implement measures to avoid breaches.

Today’s printers function a lot like PCs, with many of the same hardware components including disk drives, keyboards and LCD control panels. On the software side, they have built-in operating systems, run executables and are connected to the Web. And like PCs, they are under-protected, impacted by human error and are one of the fastest growing targets for hackers.

With printers still flying under the radar from a security perspective in Canada, channel partners have a great opportunity to play a key role in the education process for IT decision makers. In fact, expanding managed print services to include print security actions might actually be a huge differentiator and margin opportunity for partners who invest in resources and training to specialize in this growing area. Resellers with an existing security practice will also want to consider adding a stronger understanding of print security to their repertoire to ensure they can address the growing threats in the space.

Everything-as-a-Service

The print security opportunity ties in quite nicely for channel partners who are already exploring the Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) model or have an existing XaaS practice.

We heard a lot about the XaaS model in 2016 – which helps enterprises tailor their computing environment to their business, employee and customer needs – and the momentum will continue in the new year. It’s a market opportunity that partners should not miss out on as it enables the ability to be a cohesive one-stop experience for customers.

The channel play for Canadian partners is making sure that customers have exactly what they need by taking a consultative approach to services.

With XaaS, companies have greater flexibility to take advantage of new technologies and services – including print security, PC deployment and mobile device management – because it eliminates upgrade costs and moves toward a “pay-as-you-go” model. Beyond the ability to adjust pricing, partners can also add value through analyzing customer usage data and ensuring they can modify their product and service offerings quickly – or even on the fly.

There’s no question the past 12 months brought a lot of change for both the technology industry and the Canadian channel. And while the upcoming year will likely be no different, something that won’t change is our collective requirement to bring Canadian businesses new and innovative technology solutions that help ensure they have a competitive edge. 

Mary Ann Yule  Mary Ann Yule is the President of HP Canada Co.

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