Two-thirds of channel firms see growth on horizon

Dec 19, 2012

More than half of UK channel firms exploring shift from on-premise sales to cloud-delivered solutions

British IT companies have a generally positive view of their business outlook for the next 12 months, according to a new study published by CompTIA.

Two-thirds of IT channel firms surveyed by the trade association for its Trends in the UK IT industry study said they expect growth over the next 12 months, with 22 percent looking for growth of 10 percent or more. About three in 10 firms expect business to stay the same.

Just six percent of companies see a decline in business over the next 12 months.

The view from the channel is in line with plans from their customers. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of the 400 companies surveyed said they intend to invest in technology over the next 12 months to help them address business priorities such as controlling costs, increasing productivity and reaching new customers.

Meanwhile, 64 percent of firms surveyed believe that transitioning to a new business model is imperative to their long-term success.

“Several disruptive developments in the IT industry are driving transformation,” says Carolyn April, director, industry analysis at CompTIA. “The growing influence of cloud computing; the need for new and varied skills; changing customer buying options; expanded competition; and opportunities to specialise in a particular industry or customer segment all are having an impact.”

Firms that are transitioning into new business models have made the most progress in the area of specialisation, either serving a particular market (i.e., retail, manufacturing) or customer segment (such as small business). Nearly four in 10 describe that aspect of their business as fully operational; another four in 10 are actively exploring.

Though just one in five firms report being fully operational in the cloud, 55 percent are in the process of exploring a shift of some on-premise equipment sales to cloud-delivered solutions, according to the research.

Another nascent, yet growing opportunity for UK IT channel firms is the managed services model. Though just 18 percent identify managed services as their primary business model, a larger number of companies offer some managed services options among their product and serviced portfolio. More than half of firms surveyed (56 percent) think the managed services model is good for the channel.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, 26 percent of firms surveyed plan to focus on managed services, 23 percent on specialisation efforts and 21 percent on cloud-oriented endeavors.

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