Wednesday, 23rd September 2020

Confidence remains high in the channel despite a challenging market

According to new research announced by global channel services provider, Agilitas IT Solutions, channel companies have a very high level of confidence and optimism in the future of the channel, giving an average confidence score of 7.6 out of a possible 10.

As a pivotal part of its ‘CONNECT – Voice of the Channel’ campaign, Agilitas has launched its inaugural Channel Confidence Index, a barometer for change, measuring the general level of optimism and confidence across a number of key areas important to the channel today. This insight is intended to give channel businesses a strong indication on the future direction of the channel. The report and the insights within it offer a way to measure and monitor change in our industry, providing customer-driven predictions for the future direction of the channel market.

To measure the level of confidence, decision-makers in the channel were asked to rate their feelings of confidence and optimism on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being very pessimistic, 10 being very optimistic), about a variety of topics. These include themes and trends such as people, finance, technology, disruption, innovation and collaboration, globalisation, relevance and transformation.

Surprisingly, despite the constant disruption in today's channel market and being presented with an increased number of complex scenarios, it seems that channel businesses embrace change, and in many cases even thrive on it. Channel decision-makers gave an average confidence score of 7.5 on topics such as business transformation, going global, innovation and disruption, regulation, and political factors.

Alongside change, disruption and the need for agility, there is one other overarching theme that is critical to all those operating in the global IT channel: partnerships. This is evident even from the way channel companies refer to themselves and each other - ‘channel partners’. Working well together is essential, and is a particular strength of our industry. The average confidence score for topics making up the ‘stronger together’ areas is 7.7, referring to investment and culture in a company, and alliances between companies.

“Businesses operating in the UK and internationally are facing an undeniably difficult situation, with change being forced upon us from a wide variety of different sources, both internal and external,” comments Richard Eglon, Marketing Director of Agilitas. “Faced with these challenges, it is heartening to see the high levels of confidence and optimism that channel decision-makers have reported, when considering the future of the IT channel.”

“The results of our research make it clear that the highest levels of confidence and optimism are felt with regard to external relationships with other partners, and internally driven change; the lowest levels are about internal relationships, and externally driven change”.

Eglon continues: “Nonetheless, the overwhelming positivity and confidence in the channel should not be overlooked. It will be interesting to see how these trends change over the coming years, and looking forward, to use these results to predict the future attitudes of channel businesses.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Bigger companies are generally more optimistic when it comes to the future of the IT channel. Those from companies with over 500 employees gave an average confidence score of 7.9, and those from companies with under 50 employees gave an average of 6.3.

  • Compared to 2018, there has been a shift towards optimism in the future of the channel: 48.8% of respondents opted for either a 9 or a 10 on the optimism scale, compared with 39% in 2018.

  • The proportion of respondents who feel pessimistic has shrunk - from 14% in 2018, to just 2% now.

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