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Data greatest challenge and opportunity for channel partners - report
Thu, 14th Mar 2024

IT channel partners view data as both the greatest challenge and a significant opportunity while striving for growth and transitioning to recurring revenue models, as per recent research.

Global technology provider and specialist distributor Westcon-Comstor conducted a survey involving over 500 senior decision-makers at partners across nine countries. The study revealed that 97% perceive data as key on their journey towards an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) future.

However, obtaining the correct data has emerged as the primary obstruction faced by partners in their quest for recurring revenues. There is a particularly strong demand for data that can recognise and enable market growth opportunities.

The observations are echoed across all markets where the Bridging the Gap: Power Up Your Data for Channel Partner Transformation report research was undertaken, including the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

The challenge of managing multiple, diverse data types from various sources was pinpointed as partners' biggest practical challenge. They also identified the need to enhance their internal capabilities to bridge gaps in data utilisation and application for lifecycle selling.

Partners are highly interested in improving their utilisation of data to maximise cross-selling and upselling opportunities and to facilitate the adoption of new products and solutions.

With 95% of respondents designating data capabilities as a key investment priority for the upcoming year, 70% stated that they already possess an in-house data and analytics function as a foundation. Signifying the escalating significance of data within the channel, over half (59%) of those surveyed strongly agreed that the future of distribution lies in providing meaningful customer and market insights.

Patrick Aronson, Chief Marketing Officer and APAC Executive Vice President at Westcon-Comstor, expressed that the research highlighted partners' recognition of data as vital for their transition to recurring revenue models, yet they are struggling with practical issues. These include access to data and the utilisation of such data.

"It is incumbent on those across the channel ecosystem, including distributors, to equip partners with the data and analytics they need to seize new growth opportunities and complete their journey to a subscription, software and services-based future," Aronson adds.

The research was commissioned by Westcon-Comstor and undertaken by Coleman Parkes between 12 October 2023 and 7 December 2023. Among 540 commercial decision-makers for value-added resellers, managed service providers and systems integrators that were surveyed, countries included in the study were the UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.