Digital transformation has been a hot topic for enterprises for as long as “digital” has been a descriptive. The power of technology to not only accelerate, but rather transform business processes (and, in turn, enterprises) is indisputable and drives innovation and transformation.
Technological innovation creates opportunity. Not just for the technology companies that innovate and the enterprises that use new tech to transform processes and competitive landscapes, but also for those that sell innovative new technologies – the channel.
The more transformative a new technology is to an enterprise, the more powerful the opportunity for channel providers. Exciting new technologies that empower businesses often create disparities among competitors that are most easily solved by implementing the same or similar technologies.
This “push/pull” mechanic has been instrumental in driving business to channel providers that can keep up with the innovation within their customers’ industries for some time. But never before has the opportunity for channel resellers been so immense.
The Cloud Revolution
The COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call to the entire world. As people everywhere shuttered themselves in quarantines and lockdowns, enterprises suddenly discovered how unprepared they were to do business in this new paradigm.
This touched off a massive shift to cloud-based technologies and automation that is still underway, even though the global threat has since diminished. Many enterprises that had been putting off their digital transformations began investing heavily in them.
While automation has been a go-to technology solution since the industrial revolution, the move to the cloud is very new, even if much of it’s technology is not. Cloud computing has been around for over a decade. And, while cloud technology has grown and improved since Google first started talking about it in 2006, the lure of the cloud has been muted by the realities of business and infrastructure development.
The soft growth of cloud technologies has been largely due to the nature of the value it offers. For example, a feature like agility – the ability to deploy quickly and make swift changes across your enterprise – may be nice to have, but it is rarely mission-critical for an enterprise to implement. The same can be said for scalability – another key feature of cloud-based systems.
Yet cloud technologies still managed to find eager markets in businesses looking to keep costs slim. The cloud-delivered “aaS” (“as a Service”) model has been particularly attractive as it minimizes the cost outlay for industrial software solutions, instead spreading them out as a subscription rather than a one-time purchase. This has allowed many businesses – especially newer companies – to onboard state-of-the-art cloud solutions without being locked into costly contracts and expensive equipment.
Older, more established enterprises often have more difficulty moving to the cloud. Unlike younger companies established in the digital era, many older organizations still have outmoded manual processes that they need to renovate. This makes moving to the cloud a more expensive proposition for them, even if they know they will one day need to give in.
The New Normal
So, while the cloud revolution has been as soft and fluffy as… well, a cloud, COVID gave it a real shot in the arm (pun intended).
One of the cloud’s essential features is its decentralized nature, which allows it to be accessed from anywhere. Due to its nature, cloud data handling has become far more safe and secure, and only allows two-way data access (read/write) according to the most stringent security protocols. Because the cloud is supported by a network of data centers, it is not bound to a single, physical location. This makes it ideal for serving enterprises with multiple locations, as well as remote workers.
At last, cloud computing technologies had a feature that was suddenly mission-critical, and businesses began rushing to make their digital transformation through it. And while many organizations may have held out, opting instead to wait out the pandemic for a return to normalcy, they found remote work on its way to becoming the new normal.
The shift to remote work is enormous – both in size and impact. It’s also global, with over 16% of companies worldwide operating remotely. In the US, the percentage of remote workers has jumped to 58.6%, a rise of more than 44% in the past 5 years.
The Remote Revolution
The pandemic may have initiated the Remote Revolution, but fears of viral resurgence are no longer propelling it. . Instead, it is being driven by workers, who have discovered they can often work just as well from home, as well as by employers who’ve found gains in productivity and cost savings from reduced overhead.
Another factor compelling employers to embrace remote work is the global nature of this revolution. With more and more remote work opportunities appearing, employees are no longer bound to their local area, and are free to find work all over the world.
This means employers will be forced to offer remote options in order to remain attractive to top talent, maintaining the momentum behind the Remote Revolution in the push/pull tradition of digital transformation.
With this level of employer support and employee demand, it’s clear that the Remote Revolution will almost certainly continue, digitally transforming not just a business or industry, but the entire global workforce. This puts the Remote Revolution on par with the PC and Dotcom revolutions set off by the commercial embrace of personal computers and the Internet, respectively.
But while the cloud is really the technology at the heart of the Remote Revolution, the transformation is being powered by unified communications (UC) technology that has been around for over 20 years.
UC platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom have been around for a number of years prior to the pandemic without being viewed as mission-critical. This proved to be a good thing for enterprises joining the Remote Revolution because it meant that they could reduce some risk by relying upon mature solutions to manifest their digital transformations.
While Microsoft and Cisco are two of the biggest software companies in the world, Zoom is over 10 years old, and its UC solution has been battle tested by over 300 million users during the peak of the pandemic.
The Channel Opportunity
Combined, all of the factors above spell out a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for channel resellers.
Driven by market forces to make a huge digital transformation, enterprises everywhere are heading to the cloud. This not only grants channel resellers a vast and hungry market to sell UC solutions, but also a long tail market of associated technologies.
Remote work isn’t just supportive of digital cloud technology. It requires it. By making the digital transformation to remote operations, businesses must adopt digital technologies and finally leave outmoded manual processes behind.
Channel resellers that are able to provide everything that businesses need to make this transformation will find eager markets in which to sell proven mature solutions. Better still, channel providers will be able to approach these markets with the full support of cloud-based technology solution providers like CallCabinet to help close sales.
The Remote Revolution is a historic digital transformation, and the channel resellers that are able to best leverage this moment stand to count among its biggest winners.