4 meta trends impacting the future of the channel

March 31, 2023 Ben Team 5 min


What are the top trends leading channel innovation in 2023? Our Head of Channel Ben Team reveals his insights into those, and how to take advantage of them with the right partner.

What channel trends have you been hearing about most in 2023? Perhaps they have been tied to global economic uncertainties, or the movement towards self-service. Maybe you have witnessed how businesses are being asked to rethink the way they deliver services and solutions to their clients. These trends are evolving the way we do businesses, by altering B2B buying dynamics, which inevitably influences the channel industry.

As the new Head of Channel for Windstream Enterprise, I wanted to share insights that will be most valuable for our channel partners and community to keep top of mind for the rest of the year, starting with:

  1. 2023 is the year of tech consolidation.
    A recent Wall Street Journal article wrote, “The next economic downturn has become the most anticipated recession in recent U.S. history. It also keeps getting postponed.” This speaks to the constant state of uncertainty we are living in, and the business community is left to make tough decisions about where to cut costs and shift resources without abandoning digital transformation investments. Windstream Enterprise’s CRO Mike Fiacco recommended that business leaders must prime their organization against escalating uncertainty by moving digital initiatives forward while finding supplemental ways to remain agile and flexible enough to adapt to changes correlated with the direction of the economy.

    Consolidation is happening all across the board—both within the partner community and across the IT vendor community. It is impacting the way technology is being sold, and it is impacting how businesses can cut costs. The benefit of working with managed service providers is that these providers can integrate previously separate systems—like Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), network connectivity and cybersecurity. It is important to find trustworthy partners who can help demonstrate a real value to shifting and consolidated solutions and services, along with tangible results, to ensure you are getting the greatest return on your investment(s).

  2. No surprises here: Cybersecurity.
    SonicWall’s 2023 Cyber Threat Report found that 66% of their survey respondents reported being more concerned about cyberattacks this year than last year, with another 29% reporting they have the same level of concern. The evolving, and clearly terrifying, cyber landscape has made security the top consideration for virtually every organization. More businesses are looking to build their frontline defense with comprehensive, unified security strategies that can properly guard an organization’s resources, data and people. This is especially true in an environment known for its cybersecurity skills gap, leaving businesses even more vulnerable to cybercrime.

    Channel partners can offer a lot to their customers about smart investments into next-gen and fully converged network security architectures like Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) or its security-centric sister Security Service Edge (SSE) to achieve enhanced and expanded protection and necessary compliance, a move especially important in today’s cloud ecosystems.

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  4. Professional services—more than a cherry on top.
    In tandem with industry consolidation mentioned above, we have seen how IT and security teams and talent are running incredibly lean. According to one Gartner study, 64% of IT executives say the tech talent shortage is the barrier keeping them from adopting emerging technologies.

    To combat this, business leaders must make greater investments into solutions that come with a comprehensive and managed services attached to them, effectively adding a deep level of technical expertise and project management that can prolifically support a customer’s digital transformation journey. Channel leaders will need to recognize and work with vendors who can offer a comprehensive and robust set of services that support customers latest demands from the beginning with implementation and installation services, to on-going professional services, corresponding software services and more.

  5. Sustainability for a more confident future.
    Is it just me, or have I been hearing a lot about environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles in the media as of late? While I will not get into the politics of it, there will always be a spotlight on how businesses are measuring the impact of emerging and critical tech solutions while also ensuring we meet the needs of customers, the brand and of society at large. This year, channel partners will see more pressure and excitement being built around green IT, which involves sustainable solutions and technologies that conquer initiatives like reducing energy consumption and preserving the environment. Green IT can result in lower OPEX, CAPEX and operational IT requirements, while translating into benefits for the planet.

    Whether the demands for sustainability lie just in IT, in entirety of the enterprise or the world at large, third parties such as Gartner strongly believe that green technology is key. Gartner states that doubling down on sustainable technology will offer a two-for-one win, delivering both societal and financial benefits. Partnering with vendors who show a commitment to addressing ESG and sustainability should be top of mind for channel partners this year.

Gartner states that doubling down on sustainable technology will offer a two-for-one win, delivering both societal and financial

As a broker, advisor or tech consultant, channel partners know what their clients need to best take advantage of these trends. They do this by focusing on sourcing technology and pairing their knowledge of their vendor partners with the knowledge of their customer’s environments to play matchmaker for right solutions. That is why teaming up with the right technology vendors who can address today’s challenges and future technology needs must be made a priority.

When working with Windstream Enterprise, you are partnering with a team of experts who have a deep understanding of the solutions, tools and compliance requirements required to manage the specific IT services. Not only do we provide a complete portfolio of cloud-based solutions with competitive partner compensation, but we place the upmost precedence on security—to ensure integrity and confidentiality across any industry—and flexibility—being adaptable to shifting needs for partners and their customers, scaling up or down to these specific requirements. You get to work with a team that is accountable, reliable and provides support at each stage of every journey.

Learn how to take advantages of these trends while getting an unrivaled selling experience.

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Key Takeaway
A handful of key trends are shaping the channel this year. For the rest of 2023, businesses will have to adapt their strategies and make smarter partnerships to take advantage of new opportunities and new client expectations.

The future of the channel starts here: Welcoming the next era of our Channel Partner Program