Context: distributors could do better in specialist services, cloud

Context’s latest ChannelWatch survey has given distributors a vote of confidence from reseller partners, but said there are areas where improvement is sorely needed

The rise and rise of the etail channel and continuing developments in new technology do not seem to be phasing the traditional distribution channel in Europe too much, according to a new edition of Context’s ChannelWatch report, but there are still some areas where improvement is needed.

The analyst firm’s latest survey quizzed over 100,000 resellers across Europe and found near universal acclaim for distribution, with 96% saying they were satisfied – or happier – with their main distie partner, and a third saying the service they received had improved since this time last year.

However, Context found, this was no indication of future loyalty, with 75% saying they would shop around, partly due to a perceived need to expand their product portfolios in response to the fast-evolving tech landscape which, said the analysts, was good news for specialist value added distributors.

Despite the good news there was a clear indication that the distribution community as a whole still has work to do in some areas, with resellers most pleased with standard services, such as speed of delivery or web interface quality. Distribution was let down, the survey found, by areas such as training, tech support and pre-sales, all areas which specialist VADs have tried to make their own.

Other areas of disappointment for the channel were found around cloud services take-up, with 15% of European resellers offering cloud and 42% saying they had no plans to do so.

“There is no doubting the serious commitment from resellers in engaging in the cloud,” remarked Jeremy Davies, CEO and co-founder at Context.

“There is however still room for education. 53% of resellers said they weren’t getting the right kind of information from their value added distributors in this area, a clear sign to focus on communication and improve support activities to help resellers better address this market.”

The overarching message of the report was one of renewed optimism in every part of the theatre, with nearly 50% of resellers expecting things to get better this year and 35% saying their performance would be as expected.

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