Tag: CompTIA

Channel needs greater diversity


The IT channel needs to do more to attract women and ethnic minorities.

Industry group CompTIA has been a strong advocate of increasing diversity in the IT industry, having identified a ‘confidence gap’ that has prevented some people from entering the industry and is determined to overcome those problems.

CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux said: “There are lots of people who don’t realise they can work in the industry because they think they need to have a college degree or be maths and science whizzes but it is a different job to the one they think it is. We have to get them over this confidence gap.”

People need to realise that anybody can be trained and acquire the skills to work in the industry but they need to believe they can do it.

He said everyone wanted to speed up the movement towards greater diversity but it was “not something that can be fixed overnight”.

“It will be interesting to see every year from now because that is when we are supposed to see the mass retirement of the early baby boomers that are going to come out of the industry. That is where there will be lots of opportunity”, he said.

Research showed that more diverse companies developed better products faster, service customers better and had happier employees, Thibodeaux said.

As well as getting a more diverse workforce the other lesson that the industry can learn is around being open minded about what fresh talent can bring to the business.

“We are making people conform to the norms in a company when they come in and not allow them to be comfortable and be themselves and bring what they bring to the culture. We are forcing people to come and are forcing them to assimilate to the existing culture, rather than making them feel they can add to the culture.” He added that the drop-out rate can be high.

Tech decisions move away from the IT department

moving_away_by_anahuacA new report shows the extent at which decisions on IT are being taken outside the traditional IT department.

Beancounters at CompTIA revealed that the 45 percent of the ideas were now coming from outside the IT department.

The report said that more than half of those firms that were quizzed had used business unit budget to pay for technology purchases last year.

More than a quarter of final decisions about which projects got the final sign off were now being taken without the final nod from the IT department. Some of the places that were now exerting influence were finance, marketing, sales and logistics.

The move is bad news for channel salespeople who can no longer rely on their traditional contacts but examples are starting to emerge of opportunities that have grown out of the changing buying patterns.

Some channel outfits are seeing demand for products surge in retail with non-IT buyers taking the decisions themselves to bring in protection for stores and customers.

They are having meetings where IT haven’t been present which makes for a whole new range of opportunities.

Sales teams are having to learn new techniques because they are no longer pitching to people in a technology language and are more keen to see the actual effects of the product.

Channel needs to focus on business lines

Creative-colorful-lines-business-template-vector-01As power moves away from the traditional IT department, the channel needs to focus on business lines.

In a report, CompTIA said that not only are lines of business buying technology but ideas about investments are coming from a wider source of participants.

The industry lobby group found that 45 percent said that ideas were coming from outside the IT department and more than half used business unit budget to pay for technology purchases last year.

More than a quarter (27 percent) of final decisions about which projects and investments get sign off are made by somebody other than the IT department.

The power is shifting to those working in finance, marketing, sales and logistics forcing resellers to have multiple contacts at any single customer.

Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA said that CIOs and information technology (IT) teams remain involved in the process, as their expertise and experience is valued. But business lines are flexing their muscles. It’s another strong signal that technology has shifted from a supporting function for business to a strategic asset.

Lines of business money is going towards cloud based investments that are quick to spin up and can often be paid for in small instalments on a company credit card.

The advice from CompTIA is to recognise the changes and approach the sales pitch from a slightly different direction.

“Partners need to speak the language of business because this new generation of buyers doesn’t want to hear about the technical implications of their purchases. Channel partners need to position themselves as consultants and service providers who can help customers make informed decisions about what they buy,” April said.

“The amount of green-field, untapped space for business is huge. But lines of business have little knowledge or interaction with the channel. It’s incumbent on the channel to get their faces in front of line of business leaders,” she added.

UK channel is the most optimistic

Happy man portrait

Happy man portrait

An industry body has been adding up some numbers and reached the conclusion that the UK channel is the most optimistic.

CompTIA has just released its latest IT Industry Outlook 2016 report in which it asked 673 IT company execs in the UK, Canada and US how they felt the year would turn out.

Those from the UK were the most optimistic, forecasting growth of 4.9 percent on average and some even said things like seven percent growth. All this was driven by demand for the “staple” categories of hardware, software, services and telecoms, and supplemented with new revenue streams from emerging categories.

Tim Herbert, senior vice president, research and market intelligence at CompTIA, said: “Businesses of all sizes increasingly recognise the need to remake their workflows and customer engagement practices with an eye towards digital transformation. If investments in these technologies accelerate, and the economy holds steady, growth could lean towards the upside of the forecast.”

CompTIA identified 12 trends for 2016 that it claims will make their mark on the IT industry, channel, general workforce and broader economy. These included trends such as “moving beyond the user interface”, tech policy becoming part of US presidential election issues, digital business encompassing more than just the IT department, and organisations striving to develop more tech talent.

Of course the cloud was a big thing, along with companies getting tough on security, the analytics market heating up again, and the software layer getting more attention.

CompTIA predicted vendor partner programmes will strive to reach “escape velocity”, increased confusion over who actually is a vendor, skipping the datacentre buildout, and getting closer to the customer.

Herbert added: “Cloud computing, mobility, social, workforce automation, big data, the Internet of Things and other disrupters will continue to expand their reach in 2016. Many organisations will move beyond the experimental, early-adopter stage into broader, more varied uses of these technologies as they seek to capture the benefits of becoming a digital business.”