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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Dell Channel Partner Program – a reality check

Data speaks volumes

Techaisle’s channel survey data shows that Dell channel partners’ perception about Dell has improved by nearly 50 percent in the last 4 years. 61 percent of partners say that they trust Dell, up from 43 percent in 2014, an increase of 42 percent. Similarly, 45 percent of partners believe that Dell has cutting edge technology, an increase of 45 percent from 2014. Most interestingly, unlike in the last several years, 57 percent of partners mention that they like Dell as a partner, very similar to HPE partners liking HPE. For 93 percent of partners, Dell’s messaging on Simple, Predictable & Profitable has resonated although variations in perception remain. Dell’s messaging on digital transformation also seems to be having a positive effect on its channel partners. 65% of Dell partners are currently offering some form of digital transformation solutions and 76% have moved beyond 1st step of digital transformation, which is, digitization, the lowest ladder of the transformation journey. However, not all have reached the pinnacle of transformative solutions.

Dell Technologies channel revenue is US$43B, slightly above 50 percent of Dell revenue (had languished around 40 percent the last 3 years) which is bigger than revenues of Nike, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and would neatly fit as a Fortune 64 company. In Q1’19, Dell channel revenue grew by 14% Y/Y and distribution by 19% Y/Y.

All of the above statistics are very impressive and are a result of Dell’s wide solution portfolio range as well as a maniacal focus on streamlining channel partner’s total experience which includes simplified deal registration by accelerating deal registration response time to 4 hours for most deals and 48 hours for storage; accelerated speed to quote by providing best price faster and 80 percent within 4 hours and 95 percent within 24 hours; and finally, faster speed to pay by cutting cycle time by nearly 30 percent.

Dell listening, partners noticing

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Channel Partners landscape – four key questions

The channel industry examined by Techaisle’s 2018 SMB & midmarket channel research survey (separate studies conducted in the US and Worldwide) is very different from the community that existed a decade ago. Once a staid domain in which technologists provided IT infrastructure support to local customers, the channel is being reshaped by five key issues: cloud, and its wrenching effect on all aspects of the channel business structure; managed services efficiencies, especially vs. the pending opportunity associated with digital transformation; increasingly-complex data center technologies; integration demands that are expanding in multiple directions; and the need to sell on and deliver to business rather than technical outcomes. Let us discuss four key questions arising out of the research that is of interest to IT vendors and distributors.

Question 1. What are the top channel trends?

The channel is being reshaped by five key issues:

  1. cloud, and its wrenching effect on all aspects of the channel business structure;
  2. managed services efficiencies, especially vs. the pending opportunity associated with digital transformation;
  3. increasingly-complex data center technologies;
  4. orchestration & integration demands that are expanding in multiple directions; and
  5. the need to sell on and deliver to business rather than technical outcomes

A lot has been written about cloud so let us discuss the other four areas and the remaining three questions.

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The growing importance of IT and Security to SMB business

It is evident from even a casual tour of a modern SMB office that IT has become integral to business activities. Email and communications systems that meld conventional, web-based and mobile phones; and social collaboration tools on the web and within offices provide the basis for connections between companies and customers, across processes and with suppliers, and between staff members. Productivity applications like spreadsheets, graphic presentation packages and word processors enable users to complete tasks, while enterprise applications capture and report on financial data and organize processes.

Given the nearly-ubiquitous nature of IT, it is fair to wonder: are we “there” yet? Have all of the technologies that one needs been deployed? Results from a recent Techaisle survey of 1455 North American SMB IT managers (ITDMs) and business decision makers (BDMs) conducted by Techaisle indicate that there is still a voracious appetite for new IT-based business solutions. Asked to evaluate the business importance of current IT developments, 77 percent of SMB survey respondents reported that new IT systems would have a very high to high impact to their organizations. Only 6 percent believe that new IT products and services will have little impact on their businesses. Clearly, SMB BDMs and ITDMs agree that new technology will play an important role in making their businesses more profitable, and their employees more productive.

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How can suppliers identify cloud partners most likely to be successful

How can cloud suppliers identify the partners most likely to be successful or very successful in selling cloud? Techaisle’s 7th year of channel tracking survey data indicates that a powerful indicator is found in the growth paths identified by channel firms.

Characteristics of very successful cloud channel partners (“what to look for”)

  • Very successful cloud channel firms view advanced solutions as major opportunities and are focused on growing business in BI/analytics and IoT
  • Very successful cloud firms recognize that hybrid IT is the key and are anticipating increased revenue from data and/or application integration than their less successful peers
  • Nearly 90% of very successful cloud channel firms (as compared with just 23% of unsuccessful firms) offer IaaS to SMB customers
  • Over 90% of very successful cloud partners offer SaaS today. Less than one-third of unsuccessful cloud partners offer SaaS, and 20% neither offer it nor are planning to do so
  • Successful cloud partners view partner-to-partner (P2P) relationships as a strategic imperative, whereas unsuccessful partners connect with other channel firms on an opportunistic basis
  • There is a clear, multi-year trend of very successful cloud channel partners differentiating themselves by selling self-branded (and supported) cloud offerings
  • There is strong evidence in data to support the notion that very successful cloud partners are focused on assembling multi-sourced solutions to meet customer needs, 57% of very success cloud partners as compared to 31% of unsuccessful and 34% of successful partners
  • Three-quarters of very successful and nearly 70% of successful cloud partners offer UCaaS, vs. just 20% of unsuccessful firms
  • Successful channel firms are actively participating in cloud and IT orchestration and are investing in technology advisory & architects
  • Digitalization & digital transformation are new focus areas of very successful channel partners

What to look out for – characteristics of unsuccessful cloud partners

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