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Sage Research: Channel Partners Eager for AI

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Accounting, finance, payroll and HR services provider Sage has released a new report that revealed the channel's growing interest in artificial intelligence (AI) as a potential revenue stream.

State of the IT Channel Ecosystem

The Partnering for Success: State of the IT Channel Ecosystem revealed that AI and automated services, cybersecurity solutions and SaaS applications are the most in-demand services for IT and tech resellers currently. Globally, 47% of IT and tech resellers expect customer interest in AI to accelerate, according to the report, with half (51%) actively working to bring related skill sets into their own workforces. Half (50%) of U.S. respondents anticipated AI and automated services would continue to be a revenue stream of interest to their customers in 18 months’ time.

The survey polled 1,700 IT and tech resellers globally, including 500 interviews in the United States. While AI is among the most in-demand service for respondents globally, 33% of U.S. respondents also listed AI and automated services as vital for their organization’s growth and customer pipeline, alongside cloud and SaaS applications (33%) and cybersecurity solutions (32%).

This interest in AI isn’t just being driven by customers, according to the Sage report. A third of IT and tech resellers (33%) cited AI and automated services as vital for their own organization’s growth. As a result, respondents are investing in adding more skills to their workforce; just over half (51%) of respondents are actively recruiting employees with skill sets in AI and machine learning.

Cybersecurity solutions and cloud and SaaS applications are also top of mind for channel partners, according to the report. Those surveyed cited cybersecurity solutions (33%) and cloud and SaaS applications (30%) as vital for their organization’s growth and customer pipeline, and they are hiring accordingly.

When it comes to challenges, geopolitical tensions are a concern for IT and tech resellers, with 58% being concerned about the impact on their organization and vendors' technology innovation.

Executive Insight

Aziz Benmalek, President at Sage, commented on the report:

“The value of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the automation that it can power is enormous, allowing small and medium businesses to increase productivity, save time and stay competitive in a constantly changing market. We believe AI will raise the bar for the work humans do and create possibilities, as opposed to just replacing human jobs. This wave of AI still requires judgment, experience and guidance so humans plus technology working together is where we will get great outcomes.”

Eduardo Rosini, EVP Partners and Alliances at Sage, added:

“The research emphasizes the need for companies to anticipate customer demands and make purposeful investments that will propel growth and maintain a competitive edge. Central to this transformative journey is the power of AI, particularly generative AI, as a critical accelerator. This wave of AI still requires judgment, experience and guidance, so humans plus technology working together is where we will get great outcomes. It’s this approach which will see organizations unlock new levels of productivity, innovation, and customer-centricity, subsequently creating a powerful catalyst for success.”