Generalist channel players should consider developing specific vertical expertise in order to address evolving ICT strategies among end users a new report from resarch and consultancy practice Frost & Sullivan suggests.
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Analysts say that adopting vertical strategies may help resellers contend more effectively with overarching trends, such as saturation of traditional markets and commoditisation of core products and, increasingly, services too.
Frost & Sullivan research manager Adrian Drozd said he had already identified some large providers in Europe trying to verticalise their offerings and market approaches. For some, he said, this was largely a marketing exercise aimed at boosting awareness of their businesses, while for others it "entailed a complete revamp of corporate structure".
With end users coming to see ICT as an enabler for cost and revenue enhancement, and a a consequence breaking out of the back office and into the boardroom as a core input to business decision making, Drozd explained that vertical companies will be forced to look increasingly to the channel for insight and advice.
"We believe there is a gap in the ICT provider marketplace; we believe ICT players need to rapidly develop vertical market expertise that will enable them to add value in the way customers expect," he said.
To this end, and building on figures that suggest that as many as 85% of channel firms are open to the idea of verticalisation, Frost & Sullivan is launching a pan-European Vertical Markets research programme to help resellers address the changing market and get closer to their customers.
"Making the transition is not an easy task [and] the level of complexity implied in this transformation means everyone lacks a complete understanding," said ICT director Daniel Shepherd. "Every vertical has its own industry structure, unique requirements and specific regulatory considerations.