Channel set for generational changes

As a new generation starts to get its hands on the budget at customer level the channel needs to be aware of a changing conversation with users

As generation Y starts to sweep through the workplace the iron grip that the IT department once held over the purchase of technology is loosening with line of business department heads starting to play a role.

Not only are the business department heads wielding more budget but they are starting to be filled by people who are entering the workplace with a different mind set and outlook, prepared to buy IT differently to ensure they get the results they need.

Speaking at a recent MicroScope roundtable on cloud and the changing reseller landscape a number of vendors commented on the differences that were starting to filter through at a customer level, highlighting the opportunities and challenges that would pose for resellers.

"Everything has changed and the audience is now no longer the IT function, it is the business lead and business units," said Terry Beale, senior director emerging technologies EMEA at EMC.

Michael Clifford, director, HP cloud computing UK and Ireland, agreed that the customer was changing and resellers had to be aware of ongoing developments as more younger staff, with different expectations, entered the workplace.

At the minute, line of business isn't run by generation Y, it is run by generation X and the CEO is generation Y. The minute both are generation Y it is all going to change. I suspect that five years from now we will be dealing with 30-something-year-olds who will be running substantial departments at substantial enterprises. At that point the game will change entirely because line of business will have the budget to deliver the outcome that he or she is charged to deliver," he said.

"By the time we get to 2020 we are certain that generation Y will be running things," he added "The reseller will have to follow the money and will have to have those conversations."

Beale added that the expectation was that the IT department would adapt to the changes but resellers had to be aware that budget was more widely distributed and had to speak to a different generation.

Andy Burton, chief revenue officer at Zynstra, said that the way IT was being delivered was already changing as hybrid cloud became a standard approach.

"The opportunity for the channel to deliver IT as a service has never been greater, with excellent tools that reduce the human cost of IT support and provide holistic management of hybrid estates," he said.

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