The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how people work, and those changes will continue long after the immediate threat has passed. One of the most prevalent changes is in the widespread adoption of remote working. Employers were already being encouraged to enable remote working with research showing that it leads to greater levels of productivity, though many resisted due to security or technology enablement concerns. Those same businesses have been able to continue working through the pandemic by rapidly adapting to remote work.
This trend has placed unprecedented strain on networks as work business becomes more media intensive. Across the world internet use has lifted by as much as 50 per cent through a combination of professionals using VPNs to connect to their organisation’s servers, conducting video calls rather than face-to-face meetings and leveraging applications such as AI to keep the organisation’s logistics, marketing, and other functions running smoothly.
Organisations need to adapt their enterprise networking environments to ensure that they are able to cope with a “new normal” level of stress on the environment, and the channel has a critical role to play in this.
Juniper Networks and Westcon-Comstor – helping the channel address networking pain points
Juniper Networks, in collaboration with Westcon-Comstor, hosted a webinar to look at how organisations can leverage a leading networking environment to ensure the ongoing continuity of an enterprise’s environment. The webinar looked at the future of networking, including the application of new technologies, the implications of AI and machine learning, the advent of Wi-Fi 6, and what that means for the environment, as well as what organisations can do to future-proof their businesses.
Networking solutions can be complex in nature or conversely, they can be fast-moving and carrying significant volume. Competition is at a premium for partners to win business in the networking space. It's imperative to have a value-added distributor to enable partners to be as competitive as possible in a saturated market
The webinar also looked at the key challenges that organisations face with regards to networking, and how these apply to the channel, including:
- What the main pain points are among businesses in different industry verticals
- What customers are looking for with networking solutions
- What industries/business types are particularly needful of new networking capabilities
- Gaps in the market/product portfolio on offer
- Finding solutions to meet specific demands from customers Skills to implement new networking technologies
The webinar highlights Westcon-Comstor’s broader commitment to the channel, which aims to make engagement with end customers easier, and bring that value-add that is so critical to winning business. As a specialist technology distributor, Westcon-Comstor’s stated mission is to seamlessly connect partners with the solutions and services needed to address issues facing modern customers. The distributor is investing in innovating and improving how the channel works, and accelerating digital transformation for its partners and end-customers.
In addition to webinars such as this, Westcon-Comstor also provides technical and sales enablement with a specific focus on training, as well as an experienced operations team as a resource to channel partners. The distributor also maintains a lead generation resource, and leading proof-of-concept facilities to help partners articulate the value of solutions to their customers.
Networking is set to be one of the bright spots in technology growth, with IDC forecasting a 3.8 per cent growth in spending across infrastructure (including servers, storage and networking hardware) in 2020, against an overall decline of 5.0 per cent across technology spending for the year.
The reason behind this is simple: CIOs are feeling the pressure to focus investments on what will deliver an immediate benefit back to the organisation. Enabling secure remote working, and maintaining a focus on productivity and efficiency while working in increasingly cloud-reliant environments are the key areas of focus for organisations, as other transformation activities are put on hold.
Channel organisations that can articulate the value of modernising the networking environment will find that they have a significant value-add to take to their customers. At a time where acquiring new business will be even more challenging, being able to present that value-add that promises to reduce the IT burden on their customers is going to be highly valued.