As digitalisation strategies begin to take shape across Australia, organisations no longer accept the notion of a generalist technology provider. In light of the rise of emerging technologies, partners that can add unique layers of value are gaining greater prominence. Whether vertical or technology specific, forward-thinking partners now realise that staying vanilla seldom brings success, as customers place a premium on niche experts. Yet in parallel to the changing role of the partner, new influencers of IT are emerging across the business, with 72 per cent of IT buying decisions now made outside of the IT department. This exclusive ARN roundtable, in association with Telstra, discussed the changing dynamics of the channel in 2017, outlining how partners can specialise in a digital world, while attracting a new breed of buyer. Photos by Maria Stefina.