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The endurance of the channel: Who are you calling doomed?

Predicting the demise of the channel had become a well-worn mantra, but those days are gone and there are few signs of the end coming any time soon

Has there ever been a time when the channel wasn’t doomed? If so, I can’t remember when it was. People have been forecasting the channel’s imminent demise pretty much in all the time I’ve been writing about it.

To give you an indication of how long ago that was, half of the world’s population today hadn’t even been born back then – I suppose that means those doomsday prophecies will still sound new to a lot of people.

As someone who has written about the channel for such a long time, I’ve always believed in its resilience and ability to transform or adapt to nearly any situation. In any case, it’s always been hard to see the reasoning for why it should cease to exist. Manufacturers simply aren’t capable of dealing direct with all their prospective customers. Why would they want to? It’s just too much hassle and takes far too much away from their core focus.

Even when the cloud started to emerge and that was predicted to kill the channel stone dead, there were reasons for thinking otherwise. Just as it was with solutions, where channel partners put together all the constituent parts that best suit their customers and supported them, so it was increasingly likely that cloud services and solutions would require something similar.

So I am very happy to wholeheartedly endorse the recent remarks from Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA, when she told MicroScope: “I’m sure you’ve been to a million events over the course of the past number of years where there’s always some keynote speaker who gets up and tells you that the channel’s demise is coming. Well, I want to call BS on that, because it hasn’t happened yet and I’ve been around for a long time.”

BS indeed, although she could have gone with HS.

Anyway, April made her comments after the publication of CompTIA’s latest State of the channel report, which found that most partners believed the channel had maintained its relevance.

“One of the big positives from the study is that the vast majority of our respondents, and again this goes across all of those regions, feel that the channel is relevant,” she stated.

And so they should.

The channel has, in large part, provided the foundation of my career in journalism for many years. And that’s great, but here’s the intriguing part: elsewhere on MicroScope is an article about careers in the channel.

It begins like this: “A-level results and GCSEs have come out and young people are wondering what they should do with their future. The advice from many in the channel is simple: have a career here.”

The irony for me, after writing about a sector that has been written off and prematurely obituarised for so long, is that it is far harder for someone in my position to give the same confident response to anyone thinking of pursuing a career in journalism.

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