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Ready to Cash in on IoT?

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2017 will be a defining year for channel partners who are sitting on the IoT fence.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly evolved from buzz talk to a real-time application of intelligent, connected devices. IoT now represents a huge business opportunity for channel partners.

2017 will be a defining year for channel partners who are sitting on the IoT fence. Many software vendors are looking for partners with vertical expertise and innovative approaches to deliver excellent business outcomes for customers. If you have the wherewithal to impact your customers, and markets, this could be the right time to move into the IoT ring.

Market research confirms it: IDC predicts IOT will grow to $1.7 trillion by 2020. As part of the digital transformation wave, companies of all sizes are looking at IoT to leverage technology (both hardware and software) that connects devices to create new ways to lower operational costs. At the same time, IoT will drive new products or services with technology that provides instant data feedback over the Internet.

IoT Platforms
IoT growth areas are currently being driven by the line of business in manufacturing, transportation, medical, retail, oil and gas, industrial, agriculture and more. To serve these markets, IT players--ranging from venture cap-funded startups to the established cast from the IT channel--are creating various IoT platforms. There are currently more than 300 IoT platforms, according to a report by 451 Research, a market research firm that sees brisk IoT platform consolidation between now and 2018.

Why the need for an IoT software platform? It helps simplify the varied and fragmented landscape of software, hardware, applications, network technologies, protocols and analytics solutions. The IoT platform helps simplify managing, deploying and obtaining data from IoT-enabled connected devices.

According to a Forrester Research IoT report, IBM has emerged as a strong leader with its Watson IoT Platform, open source standards and global partner ecosystem. The report also ranks SAP as a strong performer.

SAP recently announced a jump-start enablement program to our IoT portfolio, named SAP Leonardo. This set of solutions will help organizations identify and validate IoT pilots and uses cases. In addition, SAP also recently announced its commitment to invest €2 billion in IoT over five years.

The SAP IoT portfolio combines adaptive applications, Big Data applications and connectivity in packaged solutions across line-of-business and industry-use cases ranging from connected products, assets and infrastructure to vehicle fleets, markets and people. SAP is taking this very seriously in 2017 and beyond.

IoT Skill Sets
Vendors are seeking partners with the ability to innovate, vertical expertise, security know-how, analytics and software integration knowledge (think APIs), and packaged services offerings for IoT.

If you haven’t done it yet, check out CRN’s October 2016 cover story “Supercharged: How Solution Providers are Moving the Needle in Today’s Innovative IoT Market.” It provides strong examples of how solution providers are using their smarts, vertical market expertise and managed services to deliver IoT solutions. 

There is no doubt that the IoT opportunity is big now and will grow even bigger. Especially if you are still on the fence, do your research and check what you have to adjust in your skill set and services, but don’t let IoT get out of your sights this year.

Ira Simon (follow me on Twitter - @IraASimon) is global vice president, Partner & SME Marketing at SAP. Learn more about partnership opportunities at: http://go.sap.com/partner.html.

Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.

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