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Developments in the IT channel industry over the past year all seem to bear the mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our top news stories for 2020 exemplify this trend.
While COVID-19 seriously upended business plans, many channel partners and vendors recalibrated and found unique ways to adapt to these challenging circumstances, and even thrive. As the stories below highlight, the industry saw significant growth in certain markets, namely cloud computing, as well as emerging technologies such as robotic process automation gaining greater traction.
Here's a roundup of our top 10 channel partner news stories from the year.
- Gartner forecasts near 20% growth for public cloud services
Channel partners dove headfirst into the cloud services market as soon as the U.S. economy felt the COVID-19 pandemic's effects. Gartner's May 2020 forecast of the public cloud services market reflected the increasing demand for cloud offerings. In fact, cloud services presented a bright spot in the market, as Gartner also predicted overall worldwide IT spending in 2020 would drop 8% year over year.
For more on partners' decisive move into the cloud, read this article about Datto's "Global State of the MSP Report."
- Microsoft vertical strategy linked to systems integrators, ISVs
At its annual partner conference, Microsoft Inspire, Microsoft updated its vertical market strategy by deepening its focus on systems integrator and independent software vendor partnerships. The company said ISVs offer capabilities to customize Microsoft offerings for various industries, while systems integrators provide deep industry expertise. Launched in 2017, Microsoft's vertical market initiative targets financial services, retail, manufacturing, government, education and healthcare, among other industries.
Inspire 2020 also discussed Microsoft's four areas of focus for its fiscal year 2021.
- Cloud services market heats up during pandemic
As the pandemic started to affect the business world, many channel partners and vendors responded by bolstering their cloud services offerings. In this article, we looked at several such moves, including cloud-focused acquisitions by Accenture and CentriLogic, as well as Google Cloud's release of Anthos on AWS. The moves recognized the growing appetite for cloud services among customers.
Learn more about the market's changing attitudes toward cloud.
- UiPath RPA training targets channel partners
The pandemic put a premium on automation, and robotic process automation (RPA) vendors responded by expanding outreach to partner ecosystems. RPA vendor UiPath's introduction of a partner training portal marked one such development. The UiPath Academy for Partners provides role-based training for pre-sales, sales and delivery, according to the vendor.
Further reading: How the pandemic influenced RPA prospects.
- Salesforce consulting services deals go global
Salesforce consulting has emerged as an important business opportunity in the channel. Digital transformation firm Publicis Sapient illustrated that trend with an acquisition earlier this year. In February 2020, Publicis Sapient wholly acquired Sapient i7, a Salesforce consultancy it launched in 2018.
For more on why Salesforce partners developed into a popular acquisition target, read this article.
- Accenture, ServiceNow launch business group
Accenture and ServiceNow expanded their partnership with the debut of a dedicated business group this fall. According to the companies, the business group will initially focus on delivering industry- and domain-specific offerings. Accenture's North American technology lead and chief software engineer said the business group is a "first-of-its-kind relationship between ServiceNow and an integrator."
Our 2020 coverage of Accenture also explored its $3 billion investment in the Accenture Cloud First group.
- Dell Technologies partner updates for FY21 focus on simplicity
In February, Dell Technologies kicked off a new fiscal year by affirming its commitment to the channel strategy it introduced in 2017. While Dell unveiled updates to its partner program, such as simplified global sales processes, the company also said its approach to partnering was generally succeeding. Other enhancements included changes to the solution provider and cloud service provider programs.
For a recent update on Dell's fiscal year 2021 partner performance, read this article.
- Dell Technologies partners tap into cross-selling strategy
Our 2020 channel partner news coverage of Dell Technologies also included this article, which examines Dell's emphasis on cross-selling opportunities for partners. Dell continues to view its broad product portfolio as one its primary market differentiators.
Don't miss TechTarget's coverage of Dell Technologies World 2020, held Oct. 21 to 22 as a digital experience.
- Pandemic influences IT staffing trends
The COVID-19 pandemic seemed to affect all aspects of business in 2020, including the IT labor market. In this article, we looked at CompTIA's research on IT staffing priorities and decisions during the pandemic. Infosys Consulting also discussed trends in remote workforce management.
More on managing remote workforces: Ensono, SADA Systems and AllCloud share tips for ensuring employee productivity, collaboration and skills development.
- Gartner forecasts RPA software growth, $1.58B market
As noted earlier, a thirst for automation helped elevate RPA software to the forefront of enterprise priorities this year. In September, Gartner predicted RPA software revenue would grow about 12% in 2020 over 2019, with adoption of the technology to expand over the next few years. The increased uptake of RPA bodes well for partners.
Read about the next steps for the RPA market in this article.