In a new guest blog, Dan Cunliffe, head of BE Wholesale, looks at the growing assertiveness of the networking sector at the heart of the IT proposition, and explores some of the trends that will continue to shape the industry in 2012.
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2012 will certainly be a defining one for the IT industry. As a number of key trends, such as 'cloud mobilisation' and the 'consumerisation of IT' gather momentum in the British workplace, the most important challenge of our time is the fast-changing makeup of our customer base and how channel players can and must adapt to these changes.
As the so called Generation Y begins to take hold and leave its stamp on the corporate workplace, it presents providers with their biggest test yet. Today's users are online 24/7 and live and breathe digital and social, so connectivity plays a massive part in their day to day life.
This new generation also has its own expectations of the workplace. Their newfound love for technology means they increasingly expect to be able to use their personal devices at work; something almost unheard of just five years ago. They expect business applications to work like their consumer counterparts, and they wish to interact and collaborate with each other in the way they do with their friends on social networks. While this 'consumerisation of IT' was bubbling away for a while, the smartphone revolution brought it to the fore last year, so it just goes to show how quickly we need to move to capture the imagination of the latest trends.
Over the last year, the UK has also seen personal laptops and tablets enter the workplace, driving the need for greater connectivity. Earlier this year, industry analysts IDC conducted a survey into the consumerisation of IT and found that 95% of the workers surveyed have used technology they purchased themselves for work, meaning that employees now expect to be able to connect to work data from wherever they are.
As cloud computing continues to mature, the mobile cloud is becoming increasingly important. Smartphones and 'apps' may have driven cloud adoption amongst consumers, but this trend will continue into the business arena. 4G implementation is planned for 2013 and mobile data traffic growth is expected to mushroom 26-fold by 2015.
As a result, quality bandwidth is not enough in isolation - connection quality will continue to increase in importance as people look to maximise their online footprint. Another factor to consider is that as customers do more demanding tasks on their devices such as video calling and VoIP calling, factors like low latency, jitter and packet loss also become more important.
Every transaction is powerful - if got right, it will help a company grow during 2012 - but get it wrong, and an organisation's reputation can be seriously damaged. Being able to offer customers added choice, flexibility, and above all, good service, will guarantee resellers a competitive edge. Companies are searching for the products that can help them adapt and lead in this new environment, and it is our job to ensure we give them everything they need to stay ahead of the game.