Why keeping in touch is key to keeping customers

 

While hybrid cloud is the clear direction, customers still need devices to access apps and services – and managing and keeping customers informed throughout the product lifecycle is now more important than ever says Steve Cant, Vice President, Europe, and Global Lead HPE at Tech Data Advanced Solutions

While all the focus now is on hybrid and subscription – and quite rightly, as that is the future of IT – customers still need infrastructure and client devices. One major impact of the pandemic for the IT industry was a surge in demand for mobile devices, connectivity products, and accessories that would enable more productive and efficient home working and schooling.

Indeed, Gartner has predicted that the number of PCs (laptop and desktop), tablets and mobile phones in use globally will reach a colossal 6.2 billion units this year, with 125 million more laptops and tablets in use than in 2020. The number of devices in use will continue to rise – to 6.4 billion in 2022, a 3.2 percent increase on 2021.

The main reason for this is the shift to remote and hybrid working, digital education, and interactive gaming – and this in turn is driving much greater use of and dependency on cloud apps and services.

Art of the possible

For HPE reseller partners – and for Tech Data – this is something that should not be forgotten or ignored. The cloud will become even more vital to IT infrastructure – but users will need devices and equipment that enables them to access and use online services.

It is the cloud that makes the new hybrid approach to working possible – and for many customers, HPE GreenLake is going to be the platform of choice for their new infrastructures – and it will drive significant revenue and profit growth for channel businesses. It is absolutely vital that partners have a good understanding of cloud solutions and can articulate and deliver their benefits.

But whether they are working in the office or at home, users still need laptops, desktops, or some other devices. They will also need peripherals and accessories that will enhance their productivity – multi-functional printers, displays, laptop stands, keyboard, mice. Core infrastructure products will also be needed – routers, switches, wireless access points and range extenders, and local storage appliances.

First call

For IT resellers, the challenge is how to make a profit from the supply of these functional products. How to stay in touch with the customer throughout the product lifecycle, and stay visible and accessible enough to be the obvious first point of call when the customer needs to refresh their laptop, desktop, peripheral, accessory, or infrastructure product.

One way of doing that is to encourage them to adopt a consumption-based service like HPE GreenLake. As you will be playing an active role in monitoring and managing their IT services, you will have regular engagement with the customer – at the very least you will be sending them a monthly bill. This frequent contact will also give you the opportunity to provide them with a regular update on new options, solutions, and services that become available to them – not only with respect to cloud and consumption, but also product categories.

Taking a lead

Indeed, we’d strongly suggest that this is something you should do. You can perhaps take the lead form the quarterly newsletter that we send to all our HPE partners – and maybe add in a few of your own stories.

Keeping customers engaged and interested in what’s happening with technology, and how it can be used to improve their working processes and enhance outcomes, is an important part of the role we play as a channel. But it’s not something that will happen on its own – we need to take responsibility for making sure it does and that the information we provide is relevant to the customer.

If you need any help, advice, or guidance on doing that, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with one of our team. And if you are not yet receiving our regular newsletter, please email emma.shipley@techdata.com.

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