Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), the global interconnection and data centre company, today published the findings of an independent survey exploring the views of senior enterprise IT professionals in Ireland on the future of the Channel industry.
The results show cloud is now the number one driver of Channel engagement in Ireland, with almost half (45%) of the 103 IT decision-makers surveyed using the Channel to access cloud-based services. With Gartner highlighting that by 2025, 80% of enterprises will migrate entirely away from on-premises infrastructure to colocation and the cloud, these findings suggest companies are utilising the Channel to reduce the complexity of such a critical infrastructure upheaval.
Along with the shift driven by cloud, the study highlighted other areas where services traditionally managed in-house are beginning to move to the Channel. Security management – an area that enterprises have previously been reluctant to outsource – was the second highest-ranked service for which Channel partners are being utilised, named by 35% of Irish respondents. More than one-third of decision-makers (34%) in Ireland are using Channel partners to access interconnection, making it the third-highest priority service – an ongoing trend that is reflected in the growth of Equinix’s own Channel Partner Programme.
Enterprise IT decision-makers were also asked why they choose or might consider working with Channel partners. Cost was the number one priority, with over half (59%) of Irish respondents stating they choose to work with Channel partners because it’s more cost-effective than other routes to market. Convenience came in second (51% of respondents), while gaining access to a better breadth of services was cited by 38% of those surveyed.
- On average, enterprise IT decision-makers across Europe spend just under a quarter (24%) of their budget with the Channel. In Ireland, IT decision-makers spend on average 20% of their IT budget via partners.
- The average number of Channel partners engaged per enterprise across EMEA is nine, although this varies significantly by country. France and Germany are both above average with 12 and 11 Channel partners per enterprise, respectively, while the UK (7) and Finland (6) are the countries where companies work with the fewest Channel partners on average. Meanwhile, over half (52%) of IT decision-makers in Ireland work with more than four channel partners.
- The multi-partner use cited by respondents shows a need for vendor-agnostic platforms that enable businesses to address IT challenges in today’s digital economy. Equinix’s Channel Partner Programme is based on joint value propositions developed together with partners. Resulting solutions utilise the technologies of multiple vendors and the unique skills of the partner to comprehensively meet customer requirements. This collaboration is critical for success as the Channel industry shifts in line with new enterprise needs. This is particularly noteworthy given the findings in Equinix’s third annual Global Interconnection Index (GXI Vol.3), a market report which this year shows that interconnecting to multiple providers across multiple edge locations is the most prominent use case for interconnection bandwidth and is expected to grow 4x by 2022.
- Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) respondents across EMEA highlighted that Channel partners have room to improve in providing seamless solutions that are easy to implement without disruption to enterprises. This need is only going to continue to grow with the expansion and complexity of enterprise infrastructure. The GXI Vol.3 shows that to manage increasing volumes of data, enterprises are on average deploying in 9 locations, with a total of 340 interconnections to networks clouds and business partners.
- More than a third (37%) of Irish IT decision-makers believe their Channel partners are currently missing a support structure that helps develop knowledge of the product/service. Furthermore, 32% expressed a desire for a clearer sales process.
- When asked about what will differentiate Channel partners and lead enterprises to work with them, quality of service was universally named the most important differentiator by all of the 8 surveyed markets, with 52% of responses overall. Demonstrating an understanding of the customer’s business was the next most important (33% of respondents).
- 85% of IT decision-makers in Ireland consider interconnection to be important to their business and 34% of those surveyed agree that Channel partnerships drive innovation for their organisation.
- Oren Yehudai, Senior Director, EMEA Channel Sales, Equinix:
“The move to the cloud has been incredibly exciting to see. By 2021, European spend on cloud will hit £100 billion. Enterprises must make critical decisions on IT infrastructure as they adopt cloud services or fail to compete in the digital economy. The speed of demand and consumption of cloud services is both a huge opportunity and a threat for many resellers. Channel players have to be ready to support this, and for many that means making significant changes, from accelerating the development of consulting and ‘cloud-complementing’ services to adapting to a monthly billing system or changing compensation plans to match new purchasing patterns.”
- Kevin O’Connor, channel manager Ireland, Equinix:
“Analyst firm IDC has stated that at least 30% of Channel industry players will not exist in the format we know them today by 2021. As the findings of this study suggest, many of these changes will be driven by cloud, and it will be the Channel players that are agile and respond to these changes, that will survive and thrive. It’s vital they provide cost-effective, convenient and varied services to help Irish organizations interconnect and innovate.”
- Gordon McArthur, CEO, Beeks:
“As enterprises continue to move to the cloud, shifting their IT infrastructures in line with new digital demands, Channel players are joining forces with other partners and vendors to be able to offer a complete solution to this development. Collaborating in this way allows us to create unique and flexible services that cater to the needs of the modern digital business. The Equinix Channel Partner Program has enabled us to create these tailored end-to-end solutions, developing joint offerings which allow us to bid for new business.”
- Eugene Bergen Henegouwen, EMEA President, Equinix:
“Our Channel Partner Program is one of our main assets and has grown steadily since its inception in 2015. We are constantly looking at ways to expand the program further because we see it as a key way to serve the increasing interconnection needs of the enterprise market. The fact that one-third of the enterprise leaders we surveyed named interconnection as a core reason for working with Channel partners, underlines why this has been such an important strategy for Equinix, and why our Channel Partner Program will continue to be a key area of focus for our business in 2020 and beyond.”
About the study
The independent study surveyed 836 IT decision-makers from enterprises across 8 EMEA countries (UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Finland, Turkey and the UAE). 103 IT decision-makers across Ireland-based enterprises were involved in the survey. Respondents were selected for participation from Dynata’s online panel. The survey was conducted online between 01 and 16 August 2019.
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