The Channel Challenge
Welcome to the New Year and a new associate’s blog to get 2016 off and running. In our last blog of 2015 we heard James Cruickshank waxing lyrically about why he chose a career in IT and how he relishes the thrill of keeping apace with the relentless speed of technological change. I thought I’d take this theme further and hone in on Computacenter’s partners – our vendors and the wider eco-system within which we operate. The immersion in our partners of choice has formed a big part of my year at Computacenter and will continue to form the bedrock of my career, so I thought I would take this chance to muse on the stormy sea we swim in. How do we work with our major partners? Which technologies do we back to thrive? And most importantly, how do we help our clients navigate their way through a complex web of technologies and emerge from the vendor maze with a solution that best fits them?
At Computacenter we offer our customers services and solutions that are best of breed and best of need. However, this presents us with the perpetual challenge of staying on top of emerging technology and keeping abreast with how our key strategic partners are evolving. Large organisations are in a constant state of change and some of our biggest partners: Microsoft, HP (recently separated) and IBM are 3 of the biggest players on a global scale. Therefore, as IT professionals we have it as our raison d’être to work closely with our partners to ensure their prime products (that are a result of millions of pounds of investment coupled with some of the brightest minds in IT!) are projected into the market space. We also have to continually deliver value to our customers by keeping them up to speed with how the latest technological advances can assist their business, drive competitive advantage for them and enable their users to work more effectively. Consequently, a large part of our job, and one that can be both fascinating and frightening, is keeping our finger firmly on the pulse of technological change.
Vendors, IT manufacturers to laymen, are a particularly favourable topic at this time of year as January sees our annual celebration of another successful year at Computacenter driven in large by great harmony with our strategic partners. HP, now split into two entities to better divide and conquer, are the chief sponsors of the event and consequently their latest offerings will take centre stage. As such, we will all seize the opportunity to learn about the technologies HP have developed that will enable our customers to move through 2016 armed with the best equipped Enterprise infrastructure and End-user devices. Nevertheless, at our Kick Off we have a two day vendor village that provides Computacenter the opportunity to host all the key players in the IT world educating us on how their products can best enable our customers. To offer a valuable service we must both be an expert in our customers and our partners.
As you can imagine, the wealth of knowledge can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when many of the vendors overlap in the same space and all have nuanced competitive messages to drive home. This therefore, is our chief purpose: to sift through the noise and make a professional decision on what is the optimum technology for our customer’s use case. Best of breed is not always the right answer, the latest and greatest is not always the most sensible choice and instead it is our job to cast a critical eye over our customer’s business needs and construct a solution that is proven to help them on their IT journey. For whilst investors take a position on emerging IT companies all the time, it is not something that we and our customers can afford to do.
Computacenter can boast a long existence, which is an accolade in itself in such a volatile industry, and it has achieved this longevity by constantly delivering long term customer value. This long term customer value has been accomplished by remaining ‘un-dazzled’ by the bright lights of flashy tech and staying committed to long term proven results. So this weekend in Barcelona I’m sure we will all have our sunglasses on!
Have a great year, keep a weather eye on the technological horizon and bear in mind that the latest does not always mean the greatest!