What Recession? Solution Providers Bullish On 2020 Economic Opportunities

Aqueduct President & CEO, Manak Ahluwalia, shared his optimistic thoughts with CRN Magazine on the economic opportunities for solution providers in a recent article “What Recession? Solution Providers Bullish On 2020 Economic Opportunities.”

One reason for the optimism from solution provider CEOs: the fundamental shift in how corporate America views technology solutions. Many CEOs realize that their businesses will succeed or fail based on how effectively they utilize technology to drive customer experience and business outcomes.

“Organizations are realizing they need to leverage technology in ways they’ve never leveraged technology before to either grow their revenue streams or reduce operational costs,” said Manak Ahluwalia, president and CEO of Aqueduct Technologies, a CRN Triple Crown winner for the past consecutive years (see story, p. 54). “So there’s still a big appetite for them to make investments in technology, especially if it’s technology they can [implement] relatively quickly to give them the agility they need or has a short-term [return on investment]. That’s been the mind-set for most executives and their boards for the past few years. I don’t see that letting up.”

Ahluwalia, who founded Waltham, Mass.-based Aqueduct eight years ago, expects his company’s sales to increase upward of 30 percent in 2020. Businesses simply can’t afford to cut corners when it comes to IT, he said. “I can’t imagine there are many businesses out there, many sectors out there, that are not thinking technology is a beneficial way for them to move forward in 2020.”

The channel, he said, is overall in good shape for next year as a result of shifting to a recurring revenue, monthly services model for many customers. “The necessity for us to repeat net-new business next year doesn’t need to be there for us to grow 20 percent,” said Ahluwalia. “January 1, 2020, is not Groundhog Day for us. Many of us are walking into next year with 60 percent or 70 percent of the revenue in hand of what we’re expecting. So we’re going to be effective even if there is a little bit of a hiccup in the market.”

The largest technology manufacturers in the world, including Cisco Systems, Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, are changing the way they develop and sell solutions—moving to as-a-service and subscription-based offerings that deliver business outcomes, which is making it easier for customers to invest in digital transformation.

“From the manufacturer side, products have become easier to use. The promise of what you can do for customers from a visibility, assurance and analytics standpoint on their networking platform, for example, has fueled a huge transition and growth for us,” said Ahluwalia. “For routing, switching and wireless—you’re definitely seeing huge refreshes being driven by increasing customer demands around usability and performance. … You see how Cisco transitioned into what customers want: software, subscription and security. At the end of the day, the technologies that they are bringing to market is what customers are looking for. That won’t change [in 2020].”

Read the full article here

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