Content, CSPs, SI, IT distribution, MSP, Content

IT Channel Generally Optimistic About Future: Report

There is a generally positive outlook on the information technology (IT) industry channel in 2023, according to new research from CompTIA.

The generally positive outlook detailed in CompTIA’s “State of the Channel” report is likely bolstered by recent financial results, according to the study’s authors. Two-thirds of respondents said their profitability generally increased over the past two years, mainly in the areas of business consulting, IT consulting, and managed services.

Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA
Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA

Cybersecurity is the most requested offering by customers by a slim margin, according to 52% of MSPs. In response, 42% of MSPs say they hired personnel with specific cybersecurity skill sets in the last year while 41% retrained their existing workforce to update their cybersecurity skills.

CompTIA’s “State of the Channel” is based on a survey of 1,009 channel executives in North America, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), ASEAN (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos), and ANZ (Australia and New Zealand).

Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA, commented:

“The channel is healthy and evolving with new technology solutions, new players, new rules of engagement, and new customer habits. The majority of firms feel good about business prospects, whether they’re competing in the traditional arenas of reselling and infrastructure, focus on consulting and services or represent new and adjacent channel types.”

The Importance of CX

Regardless of what channel segment they occupy, companies agree that customer experience (CX) as a competitive differentiator is the top factor in maintaining relevance and health, according to the study.

That means delivering a quality CX experience at every step of the buyer’s journey, from initial sales interactions to onboarding to tech support to communications responsiveness and ongoing account management.

Inflation Fears

Despite the overall positive outlook, inflation is still a concern for many businesses. Among companies that reported diminished profitability the last two years, inflation was by far the number one reason, according to the report.

Beyond macroeconomic factors that are out of their control, the ongoing challenges of running a small business also weigh heavily, the authors said.

The data shows that nearly 90% of channel firms are small businesses, often with fewer than 10 employees and around $1 million or less in annual revenue.