Information technology channel companies in the UK are cautiously optimistic as they refocus on growth opportunities in 2021 and beyond after the unprecedented events of 2020, according to new research from CompTIA, the non-profit association for the IT industry and workforce.
Better than nine in 10 UK channel executives believe the channel maintains its relevance in the IT universe, CompTIA’s ‘International State of the Channel 2021’ report finds. But they are split when asked about the health of the channel: 38 per cent say it is holding steady in its current form, 56 per cent say it’s rapidly changing.
Carolyn April, Senior Director for Industry Analysis at CompTIA said, “this latter attitude is most likely based on the expanding fabric of the channel, with new business models unleased by cloud computing, the ubiquity of consulting-only services and the emergence of non-traditional players as purveyors of technology products and services.”
Asked about the steps they’re taking to maintain relevance UK executives identify consultative selling that’s aligned with shifting customer demographics and buying behaviours as a top priority. They’re also enhancing the customer experience to create a competitive differentiator, increasing investments in marketing, and improving the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.
The channel’s cautious optimism is bolstered to some degree by forecasts for global IT spending this year, based on the feeling that customers will resume their spending on software, devices, hardware infrastructure and IT services.
But channel executives acknowledge that some customers may still be reluctant to buy, including small businesses and industry sectors hit hardest by the pandemic (hospitality and retail, for example). Among all countries surveyed four in 10 executives express concern about the continuing impact of COVID-19 on customers’ ability or willingness to invest in new technology solutions.
The CompTIA report gauges channel executives’ views on other key factors including what are you selling, about those emerging technologies, the channel and cybersecurity, and vendor-partner relationships.
CompTIA’s ‘International State of the Channel 2021’ report is based on a Q2 2021 survey of 880 IT channel professionals in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), Australia and New Zealand.