Channel partners are becoming more important than ever for SMBs

A team of people in an office.
(Image credit: Future)

New research has revealed channel partners are evolving from a one-and-done, buy-and-install approach to becoming strategic advisors for SMBs, which could be beneficial to both parties.

According to a report from Sage, SMBs can expect enhanced digital agility from the transition which can help their competitiveness, while technology resellers are promised the prospect of substantial growth avenues.

The figures now indicate more than half (55%) of technology resellers are focusing on offering strategic advice and services rather than solely acting as providers of technology solutions.

SMBs are getting even more out of their channel partners

Driving the change, three-quarters (73%) of technology resellers say that SMBs consider investing in digital agility as a high priority, with one in three (29%) seeing it as a way to drive business growth and one-quarter each as a way to enhance competitiveness (24%) and increase efficiency (23%).

Moreover, only half (54%) of SMBs are recognized as ‘fairly digitally agile’ by channel leaders, highlighting the scope for growth.

Sage VP for Global Partner Marketing, Sippora Veen, commented: “With the adoption of advanced technologies like AI, and a commitment to building skills, we are better positioned to help SMBs face challenges and thrive in the digital era. This collaboration is essential for fostering innovation and mutual growth.”

In terms of focus areas, three in five (58%) channel leaders consider AI and automation to be crucial for fostering digital agility, with 57% noting the importance of cyber security solutions and 47% highlighting cloud/SaaS applications. 

Despite the clear benefits of offering advisory services, channel companies continue to face challenges from finding the right employees with the desired skillsets (35%) to a limited understanding of AI technology (44%).

On the whole, both SMBs and technology resellers are presented with opportunities for business growth as channel companies begin to offer more services, but without the right resources, others risk being left behind.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!