2019 was another year of consolidation in the channel. While this will continue, expect the ripple effects of some global megatrends to make themselves felt too. Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director of Brother UK shares his predictions.
Power to the people - democratisation
Purely transactional resellers risk further decline as the industry becomes smaller but more sophisticated. But even those that have already transitioned to service-based models will need to up their game as SME buyers get savvy.
The democratisation of business applications – in which smaller enterprises can access the same tools and solutions as larger firms – is driving this. Resellers need to be one step ahead of these accessible knowledge curves if they’re to offer added value back to customers.
Scale isn’t necessarily the answer. It used to be that the big ate the small – now, the fast eat the slow. Your relevance, proposition, and speed of response will need to be on point to ensure survival in the democratised business jungle.
Biophilic design – hardware’s role in the outdoors-inside office
Biophilic design places nature in the workplace, sometimes entire mini-forests. In a bid to keep employees calm and connected with productivity and mental wellbeing high on the agenda, companies are thinking much more deeply about design.
This includes spaces that create conversation and collision, as tech and agile working fuel the dichotomy of people being both more together and more alone at the same time. Hardware needs to fit around this and for print, this will mean a more distributed environment.
Sustainable procurement – TCO plus SDG
If a reseller wants to work in the public sector then really proving its commitment, through things like adhering to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, is becoming mandatory.
Total Cost of Ownership plus Sustainable Development Goals – ‘TCO plus SDG’ - will be the new success formula in the enterprise and public sector.
Business ethics – managing reputation in the trust-apocalypse
Sustainability is a natural bedfellow for ethics and just as in focus right now. A whole brand’s value can nosedive because of the unethical behaviour of its leadership.
Placing good ethics and robust governance policies not just at the centre of the way you do business but at the forefront of your proposition to the market is needed to win and reassure.
Don’t believe the hype…just yet – avoiding the AI bandwagon
There’s been plenty of talk about the impact of AI, from driverless cars to business applications, but the reality is that we are still at the beginning of a long journey. Despite this, we find ourselves in the middle of the AI hype curve.
If it enables you to achieve your strategy and direction of travel, great. But the days of buying AI just because it’s the hottest ticket in town are dwindling.
Mind the gap – the UK’s urban-rural economic gap will widen thanks to 5G
For the channel, 5G will add more scale and speed to the tech infrastructure underpinning London, Manchester, Birmingham et al, creating happy hunting grounds for resellers targeting movers and growers. Those without routes into these markets won’t feel the ripple effects of the 5G goldrush, even if the cost of doing business in these centres rises.