Have IoT and 5G created the largest IT channel managed service opportunity?

Find out why I think there is a new way to leverage the millions of devices and billions of dollars aligned to the existing installed base of IoT edge devices.

IoT or edge-based networking has largely been left out of the channel with the exception of device resell.  In this age of a continuous digitization narrative from every major vendor and system integrator, the focus is not merely on automation but on establishing new and/or sustainable business models. Long have the IT vendors spoken of the IT channel becoming more focused on delivering managed services, but their words never convert to funding to help the channel partners establish managed services. Too often the discussion of managed services comes with an intent on narrowing a channel partner’s focus to build solutions entirely around ONLY the vendor’s technologies, not the true interest of a customer’s business.

5G is creating the perfect storm for managed services, as successful IoT is the precursor for 5G in the enterprise. Every IT vendor, every channel partner, every IT professional sees compute is moving from the network to the edge. 5G is the digital fabric that allows us to extend the cloud to the mobile edge. All the promissory speak of 5G in the enterprise comes down to discussing new vertical solutions, new applications and the promise of work flow at the edge. Yet today, millions of edge IoT devices are SIM-enabled, making them intelligent, except most still measure their IoT instances in ‘automation’ versus business process automation (BPA) at the device. So, in many ways, the promise of 5G is already here. Yet, customers and the channel partners are not unifying the components to drive far more valuable, more sustainable managed services. This often comes from not being able to correlate connectivity from the operators to the performance of the devices. However, this is solved by bringing all those installed devices into play for optimization and the establishment of valuable managed services.

The IT channel has long been the day to day face to customers for IT vendors. Relationships have been hard earned and built on trust.  The channel has sold hundreds of billions in equipment that holds enormous promise to their customers. No company ever has enough OPEX or CAPEX, and that certainly is the case in these trying COVID times when so many businesses are looking for a sustainable path forward. It is true, you have the likes of HPE offering project Greenlake to offer customers a path to subscribing to the entirety of their portfolio by 2022. Dell Technologies followed suit announcing Project Apex to unify their as-a-service and cloud strategies. Cisco Systems hints to even more potentially coming as-a-service. Even Accenture and ServiceNow created the Accenture ServiceNow Business Group – designed to speed up digital transformation and workflows.  The industry leaders are casting a net hoping to catch the future needs of their customers, but are any truly helping a partner or customer capitalize on what they currently own?

Stay tuned for my next blog on Nov. 17th where I will answer this and reveal more IoT and 5G insights for the channel.