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I never said the channel is dying

Don't shoot the messenger but turn the criticism on those who like to spout the message that the channel has no future

I have never said that the channel is dying. If it did then I would lose my job. Not only would that be financially quite inconvenient but it would be upsetting because this is a part of the industry I've been covering for more than two decades and happen to believe plays a vital role helping customers get to grips with technology.

But as an industry observer I have to report on what 'experts' are saying and the question over the future of the channel has been a recurring one over the past two decades.

Sure there have been stories in the channel press about the channel coming under pressure from cloud, competition like Amazon and the danger of failing to keep up with the general move towards increasing managed services. But these stories are based around claims made by others. Step forward analysts predicting the demise of the channel, vendors bemoaning the lack of ambition by some partners to change their business model and mavericks taking a pop at the industry for the sake of getting some publicity.

So granting the wish of the president and CEO of Canalys Steve Brazier to avoid writing those types of articles is going to be something slightly out of my control. He used his keynote at Canalys Channels Forum to make some comments about the role of the channel press.

"I would like to appeal for [the journalists] to stop writing articles about "does the channel have a future?". You have been writing the articles for 20 years, always been wrong, the channel continues to grow, prosper," he said.

Those stories have not been generated by the journalists themselves. I don’t sit in a dark room dreaming up those sorts of pieces. When I was studying the fine art of news writing the lessons were strict about the role the hack plays in the process. "No one wants to hear what you think," said the tutor. "If there's been a fire they want to hear from the fire chief not you." The letter 'I' was banned, to the extent that using it so frequently in this piece is quite uncomfortable.

Sadly it is very topical at the moment to blame the press for the world's ills. The other side of the Atlantic has started to go down a very dark path where ‘truth’ is a matter opinion and facts have become something to be debated and abused, with those who try to navigate a path through the spin and write about events seen as targets.

The fact is that over the years there have been many people who have questioned the future of the channel. The message about laying off that lazy myth needs to be addressed to them. I agree that it has become irritating to have people undermine an industry that is enjoying its strongest spell since things went wrong in 2008. But those naysayers and doom mongerers are the problem not people like me.

It would serve me no pleasure to see the channel decline. It feels as if for the first time in decades the arguments about direct v indirect are diminishing and vendor after vendor wants to stand up and talk about their channel partners and ambitions to grow the revenue that comes through them.

I want the channel to grow and prosper. I believe it is the best route to market and will be long after I have put down my pen and shuffled off to other places. It will change, adapt to different economic models and technologies, but it will be there and the channel press will be doing its best to cover those developments. What we can't control is if somebody stands up at a conference or uses a press briefing to look for scandal by proclaiming the channel is dying.

This was last published in October 2017

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