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A new era of partnership

A new era of partnership

A new era of partnership

If there was one word which came out as the leitmotiv of this year’s GTDC EMEA Summit, it is partnership.

The economic outlook is uncertain. As Oxford Economics put it, “uncertainty is becoming an increasing headwind”. The overall outlook for IT growth remains positive according to IDC with CAGR of 3.8% leading to 2022. But when you dig into the numbers, 60% of the 2022 IT spend will be on digital transformation, which is growing at 16.7%: this effectively means that traditional IT spend is declining.

To be successful in digital transformation, a new model of partnership is evolving. The traditional tiered structure is being replaced by ever evolving ecosystems. With 177 funded heads in distribution, is it the vendor or the distributor who is championing Red Hat solutions, or in fact both? Vendors and distributors are in a marriage and need to call out the issues in order to collaborate more effectively, said Ralf Jordan of Dell EMC and Mark Enzweiler of Red Hat. This was echoed strongly by Miriam Murphy of Tech Data who articulated the new reality “Linear is gone. Complexity is here. Our partnership is about learning from each other in a multi-directional environment.”

But it has to go further than words. Data is key as are shared KPI’s. “You can say the words but unless you are stitched together with the same metrics, it is not going to work,” continued Enzweiler.

“Transparently sharing data is key to making collaboration work and making an efficient market for distribution,” said Jordan. CONTEXT is working hard to apply that same logic to new categories and new geographies which do not yet experience the benefits of data-sharing. Trust is the vital ingredient of partnership, and it takes time to build.

New thinking is vital. Howard Davies, CEO of CONTEXT, spoke in his keynote about three areas of market intelligence – the known world (well established categories), the known unknowns (all those areas which people know exist but don’t know enough about) and, most interesting, the unknown unknowns. Examples abound:

  • Transaction type (cloud and other forms of consumption with complex billing rules) where the code to track them is still being cracked
  • Ways of storing and accessing data – platform as a service – where the benefits of allowing customers to explore multiple datasets offer new perspectives
  • Investigative reporting through using analytics, going to unknown places
  • Distribution forecasting being pioneered by CONTEXT, the IT industry and the Mathematics faculty of Imperial College, London

As Frank Vitagliano, the incoming CEO of the GTDC, put it in his opening keynote: “Strong partnerships are the backbone of industry transformation. Distributors and vendors must work closer than ever in this era of unprecedented change and innovation to fully enable solution providers worldwide.”

This partnership was lived in the GTDC EMEA Summit with hundreds of meetings taking place, relationship-building at senior level and opportunities to look for creating those vital elements of collaboration to deal with the new and shifting IT ecosystem, and taking on the unknown unknowns. We look forward to future encounters at GTDC events, the next one being in San Francisco in September. (4th – 5th)

For the GTDC summary of the event go to (

CONTEXT collaborates with the GTDC as official data partner


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