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4 Trends That Will Define the Channel in 2021


In 2020, years of channel growth materialized in a matter of months as cloud became the go-to technology for socially distanced work, school and social interactions.

Now, vendors and partners alike look toward this new year with an eye to turn channel obstacles into channel opportunities. From post-pandemic software infrastructure to redefined channel roles, here are four trends that are likely to define the channel in the year ahead.

Refining post-pandemic infrastructure

In 2020, channel partners helped companies of all sizes move swiftly to cloud solutions. In the initial rush online, decision-makers preferred the easiest and fastest cloud configurations.

This year, as IDC predicted, most enterprises are expected to accelerate their shift to cloud-centric digital infrastructure and application services twice as fast as before the pandemic began as channel partners opt to build resilience into these “quick-fix” solutions. As a result, businesses are expected to further optimize their XaaS platforms.

Implementing these upgrades presents an opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs) to ensure organizations make the right choices, especially for smaller companies that do not have an internal IT team.

Meanwhile, the most successful resellers will be those who intelligently bundle cloud-based solutions into a single offering. Customers are looking to IT providers to be problem solvers who serve as advisors uniquely capable of piecing together exactly the right multi-vendor cloud solution packages. The IT providers with whom they work must be able to rapidly—even immediately—expand their catalogs to meet the evolving needs of businesses.

The lingering threat of cyberattacks

Optimism for the new year should not blind anyone to the possibility of increased cyberattacks. 2020 saw an influx of attacks with 60% of MSPs reporting that one or more of their clients was hit by ransomware in the first half of the year, while 11% had clients who were struck more than once in a single day. The importance of cybersecurity will undoubtedly remain front and center for partners in 2021 as experts predict ransomware incidents to triple.

As some companies begin to return to the office, MSPs will need to stay vigilant to ensure their customers’ remote and hybrid work environments are fully protected. Automation will be key by allowing IT service providers to add more customers with less impact on staff and, in turn, create a force-multiplier effect by automating prevention, prediction and response processes.

Channel partners, therefore, must be ready to advise their customers on what solutions they need and the dangers they should protect against in 2021.

Reworking channel roles and responsibilities

The speed and flexibility shown by the channel have proved to be key strengths during the pandemic as organizations rapidly sought to change the way they conducted business. For example, marketplaces experienced the equivalent of 10 years of growth in one quarter as companies turned to technology to solve their business problems. This sudden proliferation is reshaping the roles and responsibilities of various players within channel marketplaces.

Additionally, the pandemic reinforced that MSPs are integral strategic partners for their customers and serve as extensions of business continuity teams rather than merely “third-party service providers.” Besides helping customers combat rising security threats and improve their post-pandemic infrastructure, MSPs have also become crucial advisors in facilitating the move to remote work and migrating business processes to the cloud.

While the past 12 months have shifted the perception of their role, MSPs can look to the next 12 months for an opportunity to leverage this growing influence and sustain the digital transformation of their customers.

The power of future-facing ecosystems

The pandemic serves as a reality check for businesses that have focused on day-to-day operations instead of long-term resilience. Therefore, we believe the journey to building and maintaining resilience in the new year and beyond includes adopting an ecosystem strategy that allows vendors to reach a virtually limitless customer base.

Accenture predicts that the businesses thriving in five years’ time will be those that grasp the value of an ecosystem-driven approach today and that already have or are building the next-generation ecosystem.

By effectively orchestrating an ecosystem, partners will unlock distributed innovation and enable new revenue for entire networks. Doing so, however, is no easy task. Businesses face the challenge of connecting publishers and customers to efficiently transact with each other while enabling buyers to easily find what they need within the ecosystem.

The digital acceleration of all businesses

Heading into 2021, expectations are high across the channel. The pandemic has given leaders no choice but to transform and as organizations adjust to the new landscape, the digital acceleration of all businesses will likely continue at a sustained pace.

As postponed projects restart this year with experts predicting enterprise spending to pick up again, organizations want more options and less complexity, choosing solutions that can be ordered and scaled with a few clicks.

The channel will need to continue to adapt to this as-a-service approach to help customers make simpler and faster decisions that support their IT demands and adjust to the new normal. In short, a new landscape will require all channel players to embrace new strategies.

Now is a great time to learn more about CloudBlue, a catalog and channel management platform that supports omni-product distribution to power what’s next for your business.

To learn more, reach out to us at

Mike Jennett, Director of CloudBlue Platform Strategy, is an accomplished business and technology executive. With a deep focus on product development and go-to-market strategy, he plays a pivotal role driving strategic growth and market expansion. Mike’s career is characterized by his adeptness in driving technological advancements and his commitment to leading digital transformations with experience including IDC where he was VP of the Mobility and Digital Transformation IEP practices, and HP where he held numerous leadership roles. Mike’s expertise is also reflected in his published works and contributions to multiple tech publications. Mike holds a B.A. from California Polytechnic University.
Having previously to strategic product management, agile transformations, and user experience in CloudBlue, Taylor Giddens heads the Services & Solutions team where he ensures smooth delivery, operations and solution growth for our partners and customers.

The team includes technical account management, managed services, support, custom solution development, and customer enablement.

Prior to CloudBlue, his resume boasts leadership of some of the world’s largest companies during their digital transformations and marketplace launches. Taylor is a practitioner of servitude leadership when it comes to enabling his team to drive positive outcomes on the road to operational excellence.
Laurens van Alphen, a visionary entrepreneur with over 29 years of internet technology expertise, serves as Director of Technical Managed Services at CloudBlue, responsible for Operations and Delivery of CloudBlue SaaS.

As a Dutch racing champion and car enthusiast, he brings the same drive to the tech realm, steering Keenondots from a managed hosting firm to a global cloud enablement leader. Laurens is celebrated for his outcome-driven leadership, deep industry insight, and passion for balancing business innovation with client engagement.
Lincoln Lincoln is CloudBlue’s Head of Global Sales; having been with the company since November 2017. Leading CloudBlue’s global go-to-market organization, he’s responsible for driving accelerated and sustained mutual growth with CloudBlue’s customers and partners, as well as forming new customer partnerships across the Vendor and Provider ecosystem. As part of CloudBlue’s leadership team he is responsible the organisation’s revenue and continued market leadership by delivering and supporting products, services and solutions to organizations in established and new markets around the world.

Before joining CloudBlue, Lincoln was AppDirect’s Regional Director, Asia Pacific & Japan, responsible for forming, building and leading AppDirect’s business and operations across the APJ geography. He built and led AppDirect’s fastest growing and highest performing region globally within 3yrs.

Before joining AppDirect, Lincoln was EMC’s Practice Manager, Cloud Service Providers, APJ, working with the leading Service Providers to maximise their Cloud Business presence & market success. Lincoln joined EMC in 2007, and has over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, having been based out of Singapore, Australia and the UK. Prior to EMC, he was in range of sales and channel positions at Symantec and VERITAS.

Lincoln has an Honours degree in Business Administration from Kingston University in the United Kingdom.
Brent Clooney is the Executive Director and Associate General Counsel for Ingram Micro Inc., and lead counsel for CloudBlue.

Brent is a Canadian based corporate lawyer with more than 20 years of experience as a strategic legal advisor both in private practice and as in-house counsel to large multi-national companies. Prior to joining Ingram Micro in 2008, he worked at a well-respected corporate law firm in Toronto, Canada and later served as general counsel for Toshiba Canada. During his 15-year tenure at Ingram Micro, he has held positions of increasing complexity and responsibility, and since being promoted to his current role in 2022, Brent is the legal lead for both Ingram Micro’s Canadian and global cloud businesses, as well as CloudBlue.

Brent holds a law degree (LL.B.) from Queen’s University, a Psychology degree (B.A. Honours) from Lakehead University, and has been admitted to the bar in Ontario, Canada since 2002.
Anurag serves as the Head of Product Management for CloudBlue and is responsible for product direction and driving innovation. His leadership has been marked by a keen focus on customer needs, growing the ISV ecosystem, and ensuring the continual evolution of CloudBlue’s product portfolio.

Anurag joined Ingram Micro in 2017 and has been instrumental in, positioning CloudBlue as an industry leading monetization platform for MSP’s, Telco’s and Distributors. Previously Anurag worked at Oracle and Microsoft where he managed many technology projects and programs.
As VP of Engineering of CloudBlue, Rony oversees the development and engineering efforts of the company. He is a recognized leader with more than 25 years of experience in Technology and Product.

Prior to joining CloudBlue Rony lead the R&D efforts at Tripwire acquired by Thoma Bravo, and Cedexis acquired by Citrix. Rony is a leader with extensive experience in transforming both complex technology problems into products that customers love and disjointed organizations into agile high performing teams.
Coen is a distinguished leader and entrepreneur in the realm of cloud technology. Currently serving as CEO of Keenondots and the Global Director of CloudBlue SaaS. He is passionate about driving innovation, fostering collaboration, and leading high-performing teams to achieve transformative results.

With a background as Managing Director of INTO Cloud and a pivotal role as Director of Products of KPN, he brings a wealth of experience in steering organizations through the complexities of the digital landscape.

Beyond the boardroom, Coen is a marathon enthusiast, demonstrating endurance and discipline in pursuit of both professional and personal goals.
Alyson has over twenty years of experience in demand generation, marketing automation and data management. She is responsible for leading the strategy and direction of the company’s brand, performance, and digital marketing.

Prior to CloudBlue, Alyson served as Ingram Micro’s Director of Global Business Intelligence Marketing Automation driving channel partner campaigns. Her tenure in marketing leadership at prestigious companies such as Western Digital, Ocean Institute celebrates redefining marketing campaigns and building top performing teams based on trust, experimentation, and results.

Alyson resides with her husband and three children in Orange County and is an active volunteer and donor within her children’s sports and education programs.

Darek Tasak is leading Customer Success & Value Creation for CloudBlue. In his role, he looks after CloudBlue customers globally during the entire lifecycle of our relationship: from the initial on-boarding, through in-life account management, always ensuring they build successful businesses leveraging our technology. Additionally, he is also in charge of Partnership & Alliances, as well as Pricing Management for everything we commercialize.

Before CloudBlue, Darek managed Ingram Micro’s Services division for hi-tech customers in Europe & APAC. His prior experiences include also launching and leading pan-European services business for TDSynnex, as well as strategy consulting with Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

As President of CloudBlue, Uddhav is a distinguished leader and visionary with nearly two decades of platform-building experience. He is an industry leader in digital commerce, the subscription economy, and monetization platforms.

Notably, at SAP, he spearheaded the transformation of their platform business into a multi-cloud platform-as-a-service, offering enterprise and developer-friendly subscription models. At Pure Storage, he championed the efforts to successfully disrupt the storage industry by creating revolutionary Storage-as-a-service, AIOps-as-a-service, and Disaster Recovery-as-a-service offerings with cutting-edge features and establishing a sophisticated subscription commerce infrastructure that is channel-friendly.

At CloudBlue, Uddhav guides and empowers businesses to rethink their monetization strategies by unlocking the power of digital ecosystems and marketplaces. CloudBlue provides enterprises with a mature multi-tier, multi-channel marketplace and monetization platform that enables usage-based subscription models and global delivery of Anything-as-a-Service solutions. Uddhav has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of the subscription economy through his innovative thinking and impactful contributions.

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