Relevance is critical for success in the global IT channel

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85% of IT channel companies have recognised the need to remain relevant and to move towards a customer-centric model, according to new research unveiled today by leading global channel services provider, ​Agilitas IT Solutions​.

Agilitas has today released its market report on Relevance, the latest in its series of research into the ‘Channel in 2020’, looking into the attitudes of the UK IT channel towards the opportunities and challenges that channel businesses are currently facing.

Channel companies are increasingly embracing the old adage that ‘the customer is always right’, in order to remain relevant to their customers’ needs.  It has never been more important to take customers’ wishes and requirements into account in order to build loyalty in an ever-increasing competitive landscape. In an age when the buyer is much more informed on the products and services they require due to sophisticated digital buying channels, suppliers need to be continuously reviewing their value propositions in order to remain aligned to the needs of their target markets.

This movement towards a more customer-centric approach is extending beyond just good intentions, as 82% of channel businesses develop bespoke, relevant services or products for customers, with most of these offering both bespoke and ‘off the shelf’ services and products.

“It is clear from our research that channel businesses largely understand the need to remain relevant and focused on their customers,” comments Shaun Lynn, CEO of Agilitas. “In today’s changing landscape, retaining a focus on customers has never been more critical.”

Lynn continues: “In order to remain relevant and become more customer-centric, truly adding value for customers, collaboration with other channel partners is critical. A key way that many channel companies become more relevant is the added value they bring to their customers by listening and ensuring their propositions remain aligned to their ever-changing needs.”

Other key findings from the research include:

  • 40% of companies describe themselves as already being “fully customer-centric”, developing products and services in line with customer requirements
  • 15% of companies have already undergone a transformational shift to become more customer-centric, and 28% are in the process of such a shift
  • 53% of channel companies said that their customers’ ultimate objectives is a key factor for them in developing new products and services
  • 43% of companies that are already operating a customer-centric model said that this move had increased their sales

The move to be more relevant quickly becomes an integral part of a business’s agile approach, as illustrated by the fact that when asked about the key advantages of having adopted such a customer-centric model, 42% of channel decision-makers said that the added value to the customer was an important benefit. Clearly, this highlights the customer-centric outlook of these companies, as they cited something that is largely a benefit to the customer as an advantage to their own company.

Lynn added: “Although most companies see the value and importance of relevance, it is still a big step for many companies, requiring a transformational shift in order to become sufficiently customer-centric. Many are already undergoing this shift, or are starting to embark on it. We will explore this further in our next market report, on Transformation.”

The research was carried out with over 100 decision makers from the leading Managed Service Providers, IT resellers and channel service companies, which have a fixed office in the UK, in June 2018.

More details are available in the market report on Relevance, which can be downloaded from Agilitas’ dedicated ‘Channel in 2020’ section of its website here.

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