Intelligent Tech Channels Issue 59 | Page 24


Part of the Lynchpin Media team , Manda Banda has more than 20 years of experience working for channel publications . He shares the knowledge he has learnt during that time in this monthly column for Intelligent Tech Channels .

Building value in the partnering ecosystem

Manda Banda , Managing Editor , Intelligent Tech Channels
Manda Banda is also Lynchpin Media ’ s Managing Editor of Intelligent CIO Middle East and Intelligent CIO Africa magazines .
Building value in the IT partnering ecosystems has been a challenge for many years for most solution providers . With more emerging technologies impacting the development of the much-needed IT professionals and skills needed in the whole industry , partners that look at the value of training and partner certifications , and how these translate into business returns , profits , and longevity in the IT solutions landscape stand to benefit immensely . How ? That ’ s because the IT talent crunch that ’ s going to even get worse in 2023 requires the whole concerted effort from the IT sector than each individual company trying to resolve the growing skills gap .

There are many transitions happening in the IT channel at present . From IoT to Artificial Intelligence , Machine Learning , analytics , Blockchain , cloud , verticalisation , mobility , Digital Transformation and software defined networking ( SDN ) to name some . We are amid a wave of technological innovation , which leverages the power of networked technologies to transform daily lives and make an impact on economic growth . However , while all this is happening , there is a perennial challenge that channel leaders helping build businesses back after a very uncertain two years . Some of the biggest challenges that they are grappling with are finding the workers , skills and budget to retain them .

Among the domains in the highest demand : cloud computing , Machine Learning , data science , software engineering and cybersecurity . A lack of skills and resources has been either the number one or number two obstacle to achieving organisational objectives for CIOs , according to the past four annual Gartner CIO surveys .
As new industries emerge around these areas , the solutions that are being introduced will need partners to provide not only the connectivity but also value-added services . With change comes opportunity , and for partners the new market opportunity is huge . Partners need to respond quickly to these trends to stay competitive , monetise new services and drive optimisation while continuing to deliver quality services to customers . However , around the world , and especially across the Middle East and Africa ( MEA ), there is a significant shortage of people who are qualified to address these trends and innovations .
To address the skills shortage , governments in MEA need to deploy policy and training programmes to help solve the world ’ s fastest-growing gap in networking professionals .
A lack of skills and resources has been either the number one or number two obstacle to achieving organisational objectives for CIOs , according to the past four annual Gartner CIO surveys .
Professionals with skills in the areas of IT security , IoT , mobility , cloud , virtualisation , Artificial Intelligence , Blockchain , SDN and software-defined data centres are currently in great demand .
As the transition to Digital Transformation , mobility , cloud and other emerging technologies gathers speed in the enterprise segment , a gap in tech skills appears . Partners can get tools and training for these specialisations and gain a better understanding of technologies that they need to prioritise and can help in developing solutions aimed at these areas .
Due to the evolving technology landscape , the skills gap is so huge that it will take some time for all channel stakeholders to narrow this gap . The challenge for vendors , distributors and resellers is keeping pace with training as well as developing the right mix of IT professionals . Although vendor training and certification programmes have gone a long way to addressing the skills gap , that alone is not enough . What the IT sector needs is to partner with the education segment in particular , tertiary institutions like colleges and universities and develop programmes at this level that address the skills gaps in industry and especially with emerging technologies and domain areas that are in demand .
While vendor certifications reflect the breadth of the channel partner ’ s skills across certain technologies , I believe that channel partners should be properly trained and certified to gain a competitive advantage . Training and certification initiatives enable partners to solve their customers ’ most
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