With the emergence of more complex business enablers, like the Internet of Things (IoT), partners are the ones putting it all together and bringing new technologies, solutions and processes to customers, said Kevin McGibben, CEO and president of LogicMonitor.
McGibben, speaking at the Best of Breed 2017 conference in Atlanta, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company, said that customers are facing an array of challenges as they look at how to implement IoT solutions, including integrating more devices in the workplace and juggling technology from multiple vendors.
"Customers are wondering how they can look at this landscape and choose vendors and partners to help them keep up with fast-moving technology trends," he said. "Talking to clients, they see that it's not what's under the hood that’s the most important with technology today – what is under the hood will change in complexity – but what's important is the applications, services, business delivery and customer experience."
[Related: Best of Breed 2017 Conference]
McGibben said that LogicMonitor, which is a software-as-a-service performance-based monitoring company, has seen challenges arise in the market for customers in the past few year. One big change is "what used to be homogeneous is heterogeneous now," meaning \customers who used to invest in one vendor now have environments made up of several different technologies and vendor types.
"They have to deal with a host of different solutions and vendor types – not only on-premise but in the cloud – and third-party services," said McGibben. "It is still required by customers to officially manage this new environment."
Customers also need to deal with distributed workloads and "tool sprawl," meaning that there are an array of different devices and cloud deployments that all need to be managed and monitored.
Partners have a significant role not only in helping customers not only deal with these emerging challenges – but also doing so in a way that saves customers time, said McGibben.
Solution providers need to help customers reach "profitable scalability;" they have to find new technology or processes that will drive business instead of using older traditional methods, he said.
"We want to drive business performance measures into the intelligence of the business and let business performance dictate the approach to solve problems," he said.
McGibben also stressed that partners should look at automation as a tool to help customers reduce human error: "the idea of being able to automate systems and processes is key … you have to commit to automate these environments," he said.
Amid these challenges, customers are looking for solution providers who can provide the trusted expertise and really understand their vertical markets, said McGibben.
"Customers are looking for someone to fill their knowledge gaps when they ask for 'X,' they are looking for solution providers who can understand 'X' and know that also means they need to provide 'Y,'" he said.
That rings true for Ray Paganini, CEO of Cornerstone IT, a Mentor, Ohio-based solution provider. Paganini said that he sees interest from customers in new technologies like IoT and the cloud – and the knowledge of vertical markets are key.
"We see interest in the Internet of Things especially because we work with manufacturing companies," he said.