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Context: Distribution efforts through coronavirus appreciated

Resellers grateful for the help provided by distributors during Covid-19 pandemic but indicate they want more support in moving to a cloud services world

Distributors have worked hard throughout the coronavirus pandemic to support resellers and deliver the training and support that vendors expect.

Along with the usual logistics support, many have increased online training, run virtual events to update resellers, and rolled out community initiatives to help cover topics including mental health and best practices around working from home.

Many have gone the extra mile in the past seven months to help their partners weather the storm. Those efforts have been appreciated, with more resellers reporting a better perception of distributors this year, compared to last year.

For its latest ChannelWatch Report, market watcher Context quizzed more than 8,000 resellers from countries across Europe, including the UK, along with partners in Turkey and South Africa. It found that many appreciated the help disties had offered, particularly in field support, billing and other cloud-related services.

“The Context ChannelWatch Report this year reveals some fascinating insights into how the industry is adapting to the Covid-19 crisis. Despite the negative impact on some parts of the sector, it has provided an opportunity for distributors to get closer to their resellers, and the support they’ve provided has been well received,” said Context CEO Howard Davies.

“Going forward, there’s a clear call-to-action for distributors from a reseller community increasingly requesting training and education to help drive business growth from the cloud,” he added.

The ChannelWatch Report 2020 revealed that more support in selling and delivering as-a-service topped reseller wish lists, followed by a call for more help with marketing.

One of the major impacts of the coronavirus is how it has accelerated organisations’ move to the cloud and digitisation, and this could be seen in the Context research. The report revealed it had been a breakthrough year for cloud services.

Resellers have increased sales in certain areas – backup, disaster recovery and storage; infrastructure; security; web hosting and e-commerce; and business applications – significantly over the past six months. As an example, the involvement with backup saw the numbers surge from 44% last year to 70%.

Investment areas for resellers remain focused around technologies that are going to produce decent revenues, with cloud, security and networking top choices.

Those channel players focused on the consumer market have also been adapting to the current situation by ramping up investment in PCs, components, accessories and headsets.

The ChannelWatch Report comes at a precarious moment, with many in the channel hoping that the worst of the pandemic is behind them. Tracking sentiment across the 8,000-plus resellers that contributed to the report revealed rising levels of optimism. Context found that 40% of respondents were predicting a better year ahead, albeit down from 71% last year, with around the same number expecting no change. That left 21% predicting worse for the next 12 months.

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