The channel remains largely positive about the future, but there are some concerns about the future. For one, the channel reports a reality check on cloud. While 4 in 10 channel firms cite cloud as the No. 1 reason to be optimistic about the channel’s future, another third identifies it as one of the main reasons to think negatively about the years ahead. Channel respondents describing the cloud’s impact on the channel in the last five years as “extremely positive” has gone from 63% to 37% in the last two years.

Meanwhile, channel firms view vendor-based perks such as sales spiffs, volume/upfront discounts, back-end rebates and technical training provided as less important to their bottom line. The No. 1 reason vendor benefits have declined in significance is that channel firms say they are relying more on their own sales and marketing efforts.

The Sixth Annual State of the Channel study provides an overview of the size, shape and growth factors influencing these shifts. It offers deep analysis of the topics driving debate across the channel and further delves into today’s leading sales and marketing practices and challenges. The report also provides knowledge and applicable insights while examining the channel’s most pressing hurdles.

The study was conducted in quantitative and qualitative parts. The quantitative part saw 350 executives from IT industry companies complete a survey. The qualitative is drawn from a series of in-depth interviews with senior-level IT executives. Data collection occurred in July 2016.

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