For anyone looking to expand their growth potential, Channel Partners Conference & Expo was the “can’t-miss” event of 2018. ScanSource and Intelisys were at the Venetian & Sands Expo Center in full force along with over 6,000 industry experts driving discussions on the topics shaping our industry.

Channel Partners offered no shortage of opportunies for partnership, and the educational sessions were groundbreaking! There is way too much to recap in one blog, but I wanted to share some facts learned during a keynote by Jay McCain from Forrester Research that resonated with me. Read on for a brief overview of his session and then check out the links to a couple of other keynotes that I found completely engaging.


  • The Broader Channel is Aging – We’ve seen a 36% drop in channel IT firms due to the impact of new technologies and successful evolving business models.  An estimated 40% of current executive-level partners are looking to retire over the next decade and millennials are entering the workforce in droves.
  • Traditional Channels are Changing – 68% of buyers now prefer to do research first. And 72% of all technology decisions are now being driven by the end customer. An important change almost no one expected. What’s driving the change? Software.
  • Companies Need to Hyperspecialize – Businesses need to capitalize on the significant changes happening in the IT and telecom channel to drive increased revenue. With over 35 million solutions currently sitting in the marketplace, no one company can meet all of these needs resulting in opportunies for the average size channel partners to determine their niche and expand into adjacent markets.
  • There Are New Types of Shadow Channels – Business models based on managed services, hardware sales and server management are not enticing the next generation of workers. New types of partners such as SaaS ecosystems; ISVs; professional service firms; cloud, IT and telecom firms; and startups looking to disrupt the industry are on the rise.
  • Increasing Complexity is Challenging – Mystery drives margins. When you look at all the trends shaping today’s industry, you see the plethora of underlying opportunity. The current cloud opportunity alone stands at $204B according to Gartner.  Most companies get more linear with age. In today’s environment, that’s not the case. Companies are making strategic alliances to offer a total technology solution.

Read more on Jay’s presentation here and check out these links to a few of my favorite session recaps from the show.

We’re looking forward to Channel Partners Evolution in Philadelphia this October 9-12th. Hope to see you there!

About Jay McBain

Jay McBain, principal analyst, global channels for Forrester Research, is one of the most visible thought leaders in the global technology channel. Named one of the Top 40 Under Forty by the Business Review, as well as to numerous channel magazines’ top influencer lists, he is often sought out for industry guidance and future trends. He has spent his 24-year career in various executive channel sales, marketing, and strategy roles within IBM, Lenovo, Autotask and ChannelEyes. McBain represents Forrester on the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board.

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