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AI and automation growing channel revenue streams

Sage research highlights the importance of emerging technology areas for securing future channel growth

Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation tools are in strong demand, and it’s clear those technologies will provide decent revenue streams for the channel going forward.

Sage has shared its Partnering for success: State of the IT channel ecosystem report, with AI taking centre stage thanks to rising interest from customers.

The supplier found that along with AI and automation, security and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications are also in strong demand, and areas yielding revenue for the channel both now and increasingly in the future.

The expectation from many partners (47% globally) is that the interest in AI will only accelerate. That has left many in the position of bolstering their skills to be able to support that growth.

Sage also found the channel was using more AI and automation tools to improve their own businesses, and that was also driving increased interest and a demand for skilled staff, with almost half (49%) of UK respondents recruiting staff with skill sets in AI and machine learning.

Security is already a well-known revenue-generating area, and there are also signs there will be no slacking of the pace on that front, with 39% of UK partners indicating it remains a vital source of growth for their organisation and customer pipeline. There were also high rates of demand for data privacy tools and services.

The pressure to recruit staff that can support these growth areas continues to be a challenge for the channel, and many indicated they were recruiting to plug those gaps.

State of the economy

The cloud on the horizon was the current state of the economy, with just shy of half of those quizzed in the UK stating that rising inflation, the cost-of-living crisis and the impact that was having at a customer level was a major challenge.

“The research emphasises the need for companies to anticipate customer demands and make purposeful investments that will propel growth and maintain a competitive edge,” said Eduardo Rosini, executive vice-president of partners and alliances at Sage.

“Central to this transformative journey is the power of AI, particularly generative AI, as a critical accelerator. This wave of AI still requires judgement, experience and guidance, so humans plus technology working together is where we will get great outcomes.”

He added that there were ingredients that made AI a particularly strong prospect going forward for the UK channel.

“While these findings show UK respondents as being more concerned about data privacy than most of their global counterparts, AI is also high on their priority list,” said Rosini.

“As government continues its focus on enabling a progressive regulatory and business environment for AI adoption, the UK is well placed as a future leader in this space, and it’s encouraging to see tech resellers already taking advantage of this growing revenue stream.”

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