From The Editor | February 3, 2014

From RSPA INSPIRE: Change Now To Become A Next Generation Partner

By Jim Roddy, president, Business Solutions magazine

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“Change is happening at a speed we’ve never seen before. Change isn’t new, but it’s coming faster and from more directions than we’ve ever seen before.”

That’s how Arlin Sorensen, the founder and CEO of the channel-focused HTG Peer Groups, began his keynote presentation at the INSPIRE Thought Leadership Summit, hosted by the RSPA (Retail Solutions Providers Association) Feb. 2-5 at the Gran Melia Golf Resort outside San Juan, Puerto Rico.

It was interesting for the retail channel to hear from Sorensen, who has spent three-plus decades in the general computing channel. He told me after mixing with several RSPA members that he saw similar fundamentals despite retail being a different sector of the channel. Retail break-fix resellers now realize hardware margins are declining, and they need to shift a significant portion of their business to achieve recurring revenues through the as-a-Service business model.

Sorensen shared with the nearly 100 channel executives at today’s keynote several nuggets of wisdom related to change and the channel’s transition:

  • “Consumers drive where technology goes. Eventually business catches up. Today, businesses are scrambling to keep up.”
  •  “The age of wearable, everywhere computing will happen this decade. We have to be aware of it and think about how we are going to respond to it.”
  • “Young consumers become the business leaders of the future. They bring their ideas, products, and expectations to work. They’re going to change our workplace in a significant way. They don’t want to go to the office, and they don’t necessarily want to go to the store.”
  • “UPS and FedEx couldn’t handle how the Millennials buy. We saw that this Christmas. They all placed their orders on December 22, and the shipping system couldn’t handle it.”
  • “Security has gone out the window — some businesses don’t think about it. That’s your opportunity to go in there and show them why and how to protect their data.”
  • “We’ve seen change in our channel before. It’s only different today because it’s faster and there are more pieces today. You’ve adapted over time. It requires us to think differently, and one of the best ways to think differently is to think together.”
  • “The value shift is moving away from hardware to software, and next it’s going to shift to the services and the cloud.”
  • “How we lead has to change. We need to know our why. A lot of us have grown our businesses and we think people will understand the why by osmosis.”
  • “Every vendor I see coming into our community is a new company and cloud-based. They spring up, and all of a sudden they’re all over the channel.”
  • “I can’t encourage you enough to understand and address the changes that are happening. Don’t let it happen to you. Put a plan in place. Don’t tackle everything — pick one or two and do it well. Transform your business so you can continue to enjoy the success you’ve had over time.”

The Gran Melia Golf Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico hosted the RSPA INSPIRE Thought Leadership Summit Feb. 2-5, 2014. For complete coverage of RSPA INSPIRE, go to www.BSMinfo.com/go/InsideRSPA and http://blog.bsminfo.com.

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