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Optimism across the channel has remained high, despite a global pandemic and some of the economic challenges that it has triggered.
The Channel confidence index 2021 from Agilitas IT Solutions charts how optimistic the channel feels – with 10 being the top score – with the final number coming in at 7.4.
That number is slightly down from the 7.6 recorded in November 2019, but plenty has happened since then that could have had a significant impact on confidence.
Some of the reasons why the channel is feeling optimistic includes positive feelings around investment, culture and alliances.
The main findings from the latest index are around the revelation that senior channel management are feeling the most optimistic, and that larger companies feel the most upbeat.
Areas where partners felt positive were around resilience and customer experience. There were also signs that sustainability is an area that is really influencing decisions, with almost a third of channel businesses (29%) hoping to implement an effective strategy in the next six to 12 months.
“This past year has been one of challenges, opportunities and lessons learned for the IT channel community, and seeing such strong levels of confidence is hugely promising for the times ahead,” said Richard Eglon, marketing director of Agilitas.
“It is also a celebration of the positive outlook from channel businesses to turn a moment of crisis into one of reinvention and betterment for the future of people and business.”
A lot of channel firms have been transforming their business operations, and there is an ongoing movement across the industry to embrace the managed services and subscription models.
The channel also has a history of evolution that is putting it in a strong position as the world starts to adapt to a new normal.
“Amidst a period of unforeseen and unavoidable change, the channel has been forced to accelerate its transformation to both survive and thrive,” said Eglon.
“Many of the sector’s ‘disruptors’ quickly became the ‘disrupted’, and businesses have adapted in endless new ways to stay productive and drive efficiency through uncertain times. Our latest index bought the pace and scale of this change into sharp focus.”
The Agilitas findings are not in isolation – earlier this year, Cisco and BT Wholesale revealed that many partners were feeling cautious optimism because they felt that they were in a good position to support customers.
The vendors found that more than 90% of channel partners agreed that customers were taking a more strategic approach to their digital investments, and 82% felt that being digitally equipped made them less vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic.
“We’re seeing a shift in the way channel partners and their customers are considering a long-term strategic approach to digital investments, including permanent changes in working practices for distributed teams of people,” said Gavin Jones, channel sales director, BT’s Wholesale Unit.
“The research indicates a desire and need to handle complex technology via third parties, which presents a huge opportunity for channel growth and, more broadly, bodes well for the technology sector in Britain.”