Report examines key trends and business environment impacting channel firms around the world
LONDON – The information technology (IT) industry channel of 2023 teems with more technology solutions, greater opportunities for specialization and room to succeed for everyone from legacy firms to new market entrants, according to research published by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry and workforce.
“The channel is healthy and evolving with new technology solutions, new players, new rules of engagement, and new customer habits,” said Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA. “The majority of firms feel good about business prospects, whether they’re competing in the traditional arenas of reselling and infrastructure, focus on consulting and services or represent new and adjacent channel types.”
The generally positive outlook detailed in CompTIA’s “State of the Channel” report is likely bolstered by recent financial results. In the United Kingdom and Ireland 60% of channel firms said their profitability increased over the past year, mainly in the areas of business consulting, IT consulting and managed services. Consulting is a core piece of business for 43% of channel firms in the UK and Ireland, a prime example of how channel identity has shifted from that of reseller of infrastructure. Among managed service providers, 42% say data analytics services are the most requested offering by today’s customers.
Regardless of what channel segment they occupy, companies agree that customer experience (CX) as a competitive differentiator is a top factor in maintaining relevance and health. That means delivering a quality CX experience at every step of the buyer’s journey, from initial sales interactions to onboarding to tech support to communications responsiveness and ongoing account management.
“Customers are more knowledgeable and exacting about the technology solutions they use, and have more options about where to buy them,” April said. “If you are not providing them with a high level of service and support, they are going to move on.”
For UK- and Ireland-based channel firms, a commitment to emerging tech was cited as the number one factor to ensure a healthy future, followed by providing superior customer experience.
Just as customers have more choice than ever, so do many channel businesses. The report shows that vendors have responded in a positive way. A net 86% of UK and Irish channel firms are satisfied with their vendor relationships today, compared to 62% in 2021.
Among UK and Irish companies 90% feel good about the channel’s ongoing relevance. That includes firms that believe the channel is relevant and changing rapidly (52%) and those that feel it is relevant and holding steady (48%).
CompTIA’s “State of the Channel” is based on a global survey of 1,009 channel executives in North America, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), ASEAN (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos), and ANZ (Australia and New Zealand). Executives from 120 companies in the UK and Ireland participated in the survey.
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem; and the estimated 75 million industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy. Through community, education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for unlocking the potential of the tech industry and its workforce. http://Connect.CompTIA.org