While three-quarters (75%) of resellers are excited about the opportunities to come from digital transformation in 2020, and many are investing in related technologies, not all are so optimistic so there’s plenty of work distributors can do to support growing demand, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.
The analyst’s annual ChannelWatch report is based on the results of a survey of over 6,500 resellers across the UK & Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Baltic countries, Russia, Turkey and South Africa.
It revealed that B2B resellers are more optimistic about the coming year than their B2C counterparts, primarily thanks to the opportunities they see coming from digital transformation.
As demand for such projects increases across the globe, resellers are investing in the cloud (49%), networking (46%), cybersecurity (38%) and workplace optimisation (31%). Meanwhile, a fifth (20%) of resellers have even developed their own intellectual property in areas such as software and database development, putting them in a strong position to benefit from digital transformation projects. In most regions, resellers are also selling a mix of software, hardware and services — another indicator of the maturing market.
Although digital transformation investment is accelerating in many countries – led by the UK, Germany and Spain – over half (52%) of resellers said they are delaying investment, and this proportion is even higher in some countries such as Turkey (62%) and Italy (73%).
“We know from our research that the big blockers to digital investment are a lack of understanding of the opportunities and a reluctance on the part of resellers to change their business models. But distributors can and should play a key role in helping to remove these barriers for their channel partners”, said CONTEXT’s Director of Global Channel Relations Mette Tripp. “The feedback we collected from global resellers indicates that there’s plenty of room for improvement in areas like cloud services and training. To stay relevant as they enter the new decade, distributors need to enhance relations with those resellers who are investing for the future.”
According to the ChannelWatch survey, half (53%) of resellers claimed their distributors’ support for billing and cloud-related services is excellent or very good. Traditional distributors must up their game to compete with a new generation of “born-in-the-cloud” rivals.
When it came to education and training – another key area of growth in the context of digital transformation – 52% of resellers said the level of service they receive is good or excellent. To maintain this degree of satisfaction, distributors have an opportunity to turn to self-tuition, internet learning and other methods to overcome cost challenges.
Elsewhere in the report, on-time delivery was cited as the most important factor in the reseller–distributor relationship, rising from seventh place to number one in the latest survey. More competitive pricing and wider product availability were also on the wish lists of many resellers.