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Are you optimistic or pessimistic on the IT Market?

At a recent CompTIA event in Toronto, the results from their IT growth forecast survey revealed that the USA projected 4.7%, Canada 3.7% and UK 4.9% growth. The global average was 4.9%. If the numbers are correct, it looks like the channel is expecting to grow in all countries

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(From left to right: Danny Deganis, Julian Lee,  Tamer Farag, Bredan Howe and Chris Groot)

Here is some of the data that Chris Groot, Vice President of Business Development LogicNow, presented as he presided over a panel to get their feedback.

The optimistic side of the forecasts:

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It is interesting that only 35% was focused on improving sales and marketing as these are the two tasks that are amongst the weakest in channel partners. There are many opportunities for channel partners to grow their business. A big first step is to get their house in order to meet the demands of marketing, selling and delivering IT in the future.

Tamer Farag, Marketing Director, Microsoft explained that Software is where the growth is in the future and that channel needs to speed up their business model transition to exploit the new opportunities.

Today, it is all about the customer experience! Tools and solutions that improve the customer experience will be in big demand. The channel is transitioning, but not as quickly as some would like to see. It takes time for the process to take root. The required changes are not easy to accomplish by channel partners. Vendors may be wise to focus more of their resources and investment on supporting their channel partners to help them facilitate the business transformation.

Here are some of the findings contributing to pessimistic growth.

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Respondents claimed that 37% of the problem revolves around labor costs and availability to hire skilled workers.

Julian Lee, President of TechnoPlanet commented, “Smart outsourcing (where possible) and focusing on better on-boarding and retention of employees will quickly help to reduce the human resource problems facing many channel partners. Streamlining business operations to do more with less employees can also be another part of the solution.”

Finding the right staff and keeping them, requires significant effort. VARs and MSPs should consider getting professional HR help if they are not clear on how to do this right. Hiring the wrong people can be very costly.

“VARs and MSPs need to be able to sell their value much better and not simply cut prices to win deals. Without getting fair compensation for your services, the customer experience will end poorly. Being able to reach and educate the “c-suite” managers will be critical to success. You must educate your clients on the risks you mediate, efficiencies you bring and your overall value to them”, commented Bredan Howe, President and CEP, Techify.

Danny Deganis, Territory Account Manager, Arcserve said, “Channel partners can get a lot of support information to help them market and sell better. Some vendors will even help their partners on the sales call and registering the deal to protect them. However, the partner must ask for the help”.

The IT market is about $3.8 trillion globally. Even with modest gains, the opportunity is vast. If you are not sure where to start to reposition your company to get your share of the IT market, then consider starting by taking a business assessment test at www.bestmanageditcompanies.com. When you know your business weaknesses and strengths, you will be able to make a plan to improve and grow your business successfully into the future.

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Overall, I would agree that the data reflects the channel for the most part. One always needs to digest data slowly as you connect the dots to see how it impacts your business. One thing we know is that while all VARs and MSPs have roughly the same challenges, each has their unique mix. When you benchmark your company to the average, you should prioritize a plan that is customized for you. Following someone else’s road map may not always be the right decision.

Julian Lee

TechnoPlanet