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The start of a new year is often a prime opportunity to take time to reflect. Looking back over the last twelve months, I can see that technology has been an important part of the response to overcome many of the challenges that are being experienced across the globe.
The technologies that continue to be important
Unsurprisingly, throughout 2022 we have seen hybrid working widely adopted, and increased demand for the technologies that allow these working practices to become business as usual. As we move into 2023, this is likely to continue, as well as adoption of the technologies that support wider digital transformation – from complex, enterprise IT environments, to cloud, and software solutions.
The rollout of gigabit-capable full fibre networks is also continuing at pace across the UK. Access to gigabit capable connectivity is becoming more readily available, a key enabler of digital transformation. These networks are helping channel partners to sell more of the ‘over the top’ services that rely on a reliable, high speed connection, allowing end-users to harness their full potential.
Security will always remain high on the boardroom agenda as the threat landscape continues to evolve and attacks become ever more complex. Technologies such as AI, machine learning and deep learning will also play a significant role in shaping the channel as end-users look to embrace automation to harness productivity benefits.
How channel partners are evolving
I spend a lot of my time meeting with our channel partners, and through these discussions I can see the essential role we play as a distributor. Channel businesses have evolved and those that thrive are those that have become consultants and advisors. Their customers are looking to them for authority and expertise, and often the skills that they don’t have in-house in order to make the most of any investment they make. It presents a great opportunity to deepen and strengthen how they work with their customers.
This is where, as a distributor, we can add a lot of value to our own channel relationships. Many don’t have the skills in-house either. They can lean on us to provide this expertise, support and training. It’s why we established our Arrow Authorised Partner Programme last year, to address the gap between the large breadth of vendor solutions we offer, and the service capabilities available through our highly expert teams. It’s been well received by our channel partners, and is particularly welcomed in a market where skilled people are in short supply and high demand.
Mitigating economic uncertainty
No one is immune to the global economic conditions being experienced at the moment. Last year Arrow brought its channel partners together with economists from the Bank of England, and representatives from Hitachi Vantara and Arrow Smart Terms to talk about the economy, the impact this is having on business, and the support available from Arrow to mitigate uncertainty.
The importance of protecting working capital was highlighted in particular, along with the effect of mounting inflationary pressure on the end customer.
Working closely with your distributor is essential in these times. Increasingly channel partners need non-standard terms to secure deals and manage their working capital. They need to manage what they can. We launched Arrow Smart Terms to support the channel by allowing customers to order from partners under a periodic billing methodology and then mirroring that up into the supply chain.
Arrow Smart Terms is designed to support channel partners to meet the payment demands placed on them by customers. Available for subscription, support, and hardware, it provides the opportunity to match the deferred payment terms covering the period beyond standard terms for periods as long as five years.
To conclude, as hardware supply constraints are easing, and demand remains strong for technology, we will continue to do all that we can to support our channel partners through 2023.