I had the privilege of visiting Barcelona earlier this week to attend Canalys’ highly-regarded Channels Forum at the Hotel Arts on the city’s beautiful seafront. While the Spanish weather was not so much sunny as it was stormy, and besides getting soaked on the way to and from the conference, our MD Steve Brown and I had a fantastic time getting to grips with the latest insights into the future of IT and Technology.
Having enjoyed the 3-day event so much, we were keen to share our findings with you so that you can get a first-hand glimpse into what to expect and what we may end up talking further with on!
Here are our top 5 take-aways from Canalys 2018:
Although the “as-a-Service” trend is by no means a new concept, it really is starting to come into its own. As such, the aaS model was the talk of the conference, especially with regards to the growing interest in Device-as-a-Service (DaaS). DaaS allows businesses the flexibility to enjoy the latest hardware on a subscription basis, shifting from CAPEX to an OPEX model to ensure budgets are better utilised and devices are only paid for as they’re consumed. The thing that sets DaaS apart from traditional hardware sourcing, however, is that not only do you get the financial benefits made possible by a hardware subscription, but also a bespoke wrap-around solution that sees your device through its entire lifecycle. From built-in analytics to proactive management tools to secure retirement services, aaS adds significant value to the technology in the hands of your users, so there’s no wonder it’s gathering pace.
The question of sustainability is an increasingly popular one in today’s news. HP’s President and CEO Dion Weisler was the first to address this at Canalys in his speech on Wednesday, raising further awareness of HP’s intentions to ensure their products are manufactured with 100% recyclable materials moving forward. He also announced their very first fully recyclable plastic printer, and plans to extend this success to their consumables too. Driven by a growing customer demand to reduce the need for single-use plastics and other non-recyclables, many manufacturers are now taking HP’s lead to address the issue of sustainability. At Highlander, we’ve worked hard to achieve ISO 14001 certification to prove our commitment to the environment and as such actively encourage sustainability within our business’ culture wherever possible.
Amazon Business is growing from strength to strength, offering businesses a single source for the procurement of almost anything, from toilet rolls to software. It’s unsurprising that they’re predicted to be in all European markets within the next 5 years. Despite their scale, Amazon Business lacks the personal touch and it simply isn’t able to provide the same attentiveness and dedication that channel partners, such as ourselves, can give in abundance. What’s more, they do not have the local knowledge that we (and our customers) value so highly, and this disconnection can make a huge difference in how IT products, services and solutions are delivered.
Three very prominent “hot topics” were the order of the day at Canalys:
a) Digital transformation
Where digital transformation has long been a buzzword of IT teams, it’s now becoming less concept and more reality. Businesses are now really beginning to put effective digital strategies in place to enable them to both successfully use IT in practical applications and provide better products and services to their customers.
b) Artificial Intelligence
There’s no denying the overwhelming uptake of AI within IT, especially over the past 2 to 3 years. The talk now is of smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home becoming an integral part of the workplace. The automation these technologies allow could become a common staple of the workforce of the future.
Always a hot topic, the recent data breaches experienced by both Facebook and Google+ brought cybersecurity very firmly back into the limelight. And as more connected devices are continuing to find their way onto the corporate network, protecting IT is becoming even more complex. But implementing this shouldn’t need to come at the expense of your business’ digital transformation. We can help.
Finally, something we did take away was a powerful message about diversity within IT and technology. In particular, this addressed the representation of women in what is largely a male-dominated industry. We highly value the importance of diversity within our business, and do whatever we can to ensure that our culture is reflective of an open, accepting, and inclusive group of people who love what they do, regardless of who they are.
We were, of course, also honoured to hear from keynote speaker, Canalys President and CEO, Steve Brazier, who gave us an in-depth rundown of the predicted changes in IT and technology that we can look forward to in the years to come. As always, Canalys proved to be an exceedingly informative and beneficial event that has made us very excited about the future.
If you would like to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article, please get in touch with one of the Highlander team.