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    2023 Top 10 SMB Business Issues, IT Priorities, IT Challenges
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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.

Nine key channel partner and ecosystem trends

IT adoption has become more diffused. The explosive growth in non-IT management control over IT decisions, which changes the buying point and jeopardizes the value of the channel’s IT relationships, is the change that signals the dawning of the inflection point. The IT channel is changing permanently and in ways entirely different from what we’ve seen in the past. In the same way that “cloud” refers to an extensive range of very different IT models and deployments, “the channel” is becoming a generic phrase that describes a set of business approaches that is increasingly specialized and fragmented. Techaisle’s in-depth channel partner and ecosystem research show nine key trends.

 techaisle channel partners nine key trends

 

 

Channel partners are being challenged in new ways.

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IBM launches Partner Plus experience designed to accelerate partner business velocity

Hybrid cloud is non-optional, security is a priority, automation is critical, and AI platform adoption is when not if. Cloud automation, hybrid cloud orchestration, and cloud cost management are imposing a daunting challenge on the channel. As the cloud adoption landscape continues to shift, each IT supplier has been evaluating and evolving its partner program to drive sales and profitability for its partners. IBM has been working on developing its program since May 2020, when it introduced Build, Sell, and Service tracks. However, the evolution took on urgency after Arvind Krishna, Chairman, and CEO, of IBM, declared the ecosystem as one of the company's key priorities. As a result, IBM has increased its specialized resources by 50 percent and technical resources by 30 percent to support the partner ecosystem. Recently, IBM announced its new program called Partner Plus. IBM PartnerWorld transitioned to IBM Partner Plus experience on January 4, 2023, with the new incentive program taking effect on April 1, 2023.

Enablement, empowerment, ecosystem, and experiences are the unwritten principles driving IBM Partner Plus in transforming the rules of partner engagement. Kate Woolley, General Manager of IBM Ecosystem, says, “A thriving ecosystem is critical to underpin the success of any technology company, and we believe the underpinnings of this must be an open and inclusive ecosystem. We can reach and do more through and with our ecosystem. As a result, we have put our partners at the center of IBM’s go-to-market strategy.”

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Partners prefer Mitel’s one-size-does-not-fit-all customer choice strategy

Techaisle’s latest commercial segment survey research data shows that for 92% of firms, customer experience solutions and employee experience platforms are a priority. In addition, 69% of mid-market firms are already planning investments in modernizing their customer-facing and employee productivity and communications solutions. Modern communication solutions are essential for 84% of firms, driving improved customer and employee engagement. Hence, 48% of these firms are either investing in or planning to invest in Unified Communications (UC) solutions. However, data also shows no one-size-fits-all approach to business communications solutions.

Partner commitment

We are hearing from partners that Mitel is firmly committed to supporting customers wherever they are in their communications journey with flexible, future-proofed solutions. Mitel’s portfolio of flexible, modern options is available any way that customers prefer to buy them: CAPEX options; subscription options; and a complete range of private, hybrid, and on-premises deployment options. Mitel’s UC Platform MiVoice Business improves the business experience by unifying all communication and collaboration needs into a single platform, providing greater deployment flexibility and superior customer lifecycle management. In addition to MiVoice Business’s private, public cloud, and on-premises deployment options, customers can choose a subscription model. Progressive and committed Mitel reseller partners are taking note of Mitel’s approach to solving a customer’s business communication requirements throughout their communications journey.

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2023 Top 10 Channel Partner Business Challenges and Digital Marketing Priorities

Techaisle just released its latest channel partners trends research covering over 2000 partners. The first primary focus of Techaisle’s channel research focuses on issues that shape the actions of channel organizations: the strategic priorities of the executive team, revenue sources and changes, financial resources, and go-to-market considerations and investment priorities. Vendors who obtain a more profound understanding of the channel’s ‘inner workings’ are, Techaisle believes, better positioned to direct their own activities to address the most critical concerns of channel partners. In the post-pandemic macro-economic driven uncertainties, an unsettled supply chain, cloud-led transformation, ecosystem participation, and essentially undifferentiated vendor-partner programs, partners are seeking new vendor partner asks and newer engagement models.. 

Each year, Techaisle asks decision-makers in the channel to identify their top business issues and develops a ‘top 10’ ranking based on this information. This list serves as the industry standard for understanding the business issues that define actions, interests, and investments for the coming year.

The latest findings show that “managing uncertainty” is the top business issue cited by 45% of channel partners, up from 34% a year ago. “Driving growth,” identified by 43% of channel decision-makers as an essential priority for the next 12 months, is the #2 concern of channel executives – it was the top concern in 2022, 2021, and 2020.

Scanning the balance of the list, we see a central theme as per the survey of 2115 channel partners - issues relating to efficiency and control are becoming more important, while those relating to expansion are declining. Nearly half of the partners plan to focus on cross-selling/upselling to their existing customers over chasing new customer logos. Marketing is focusing on the “land” part of the sales process, and sales are increasing its focus on the “expand” part of “land and expand.”

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