Category: Trends and Insights

Automation: The future of smart working?

Automation: the future of working

The words ‘smart’ and ‘agile’ are becoming more intertwined in business operations by the day. As we’ve learned, introducing dynamic measures that keep workforces productive is what aids efficiency across the whole technology Channel.

The words ‘smart’ and ‘agile’ are becoming more intertwined in business operations by the day. As we’ve learned, introducing dynamic measures that keep workforces productive is what aids efficiency across the whole technology Channel. Automation has become an integral part of this and according to the global Business Process Automation (BPA), market size is expected to grow from USD 9.8 billion in 2020 to USD 19.6 billion by 2026.

In a business outcome-led sector, there is now a golden opportunity to identify points of friction or areas that can be streamlined by the provision of technology. This involves the potential implementation of automation in ways that help team members work smarter in a fast-paced world, with enhancements in analytics and automatic remediation capabilities already set to refocus 30% of IT operations efforts until 2024.

This can be achieved by adopting technological solutions that reduce the operational overheads associated with traditional maintenance support. By adopting the correct workplace hardware service, businesses will see the productivity of its team members increase significantly. After years of unpredictable change, workplaces will need to prioritise how they mobilise their workforces as efficiently and effectively as possible, to ensure customer service and loyalty is maintained.

Businesses are now beginning to move away from the friction that COVID-19 imposed on working environments using a more agile and hybrid approach, and the technology Channel is no exception. Despite years of learning to adapt and implement strategies that are consistent with the needs of its workplace, team members need to take heed in how to utilise the measures built to bolster productivity and the support that automation can offer.

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Identifying efficient measures

Remote and hybrid working is here to stay, and over the past two years the technology Channel has overcome new obstacles when it comes to efficiency, collaboration, and data security. While productivity has been high in this new working model, so too are employee stress levels, leading to more job openings and not enough people to fill them. This is where automation comes in, helping to ease the UK’s ‘Great Resignation’ which has made the fight for talent amongst organisations even more fierce.

Businesses are always striving to move forward and outpace their competitors, and being in front when it comes to technology is a sure fire way to achieve this. However, when not done correctly, the measures they put in place may have a reverse effect. When implementing new technologies and digital transformation, Channel businesses need to identify these measures effectively and use automation to replace some roles. By doing this, the likes of miscommunication, human error and poor governance are eliminated.

In the technology Channel, companies are starting to mobilise smart and agile working by automating a single part of their Channel. For example, deal registration, followed by the addition of SaaS functionality. This then leads to an end-to-end automated Channel, which significantly improves productivity and accelerates revenue.

Intelligent automation is driving post-pandemic recovery and can effectively eliminate mundane tasks and create new opportunities for workers to perform higher-value and more satisfying roles. AI-powered process automation can make pragmatic decisions without the need for human intervention, allowing the technology Channel to benefit from a reduction in unstructured data and a drive-in competitive advantage.

The influence of automation

Adopting measures in the technology Channel under the influence of automation can help correct the potential issues listed above and make for a more efficient workplace. Nevertheless, it’s important to reinforce that automation shouldn’t be seen as a threat to an individual’s job, but rather to assist them in their workload. In reality, the key to powerful automation lies in finding the right balance between human intervention and digital transformation and freeing up subject matter experts to focus on the more complex tasks at hand.

Upgrading hardware will be costly in the short term, but the long-term benefits outweigh the cost implications as well as removing the risk of human error. In addition to this, automated systems can comfortably deal with high volume requests which, ordinarily, a regular employee couldn’t handle.

Before accelerating Channel strategy and scale, it is recommended that Channel leaders apply basic automation technologies to get their front and back-end systems in order to effectively future-proof their organisations. Partnerships are a key part of this, and a seamless journey can be created through embracing new shared processes and allowing workflows to scale correctly.

Working smarter not harder

Automation is here to make life easier. It helps Channel businesses work smarter so that time and resources can be directed towards strategic thinking and the processes that are weighing employees down. The pressure can then be alleviated as automation changes the way we work for the better.

As a result of a more efficient and automated workplace, employee output on more important tasks will increase. In the instance of a warehouse worker, throughout their labour-intensive and physically demanding day, their marginal output decreases as they become more tired. In a digital environment, automated software completes the same job without affecting its marginal output, therefore increasing overall performance.

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Whether you’re looking to ramp up your marketing activity, enhance staff management capabilities or improve collaboration, automation could greatly enhance the performance and productivity of a Channel business in more ways than one.

While human control will always be the most important element within any modern workplace, taking the opportunity to automate what is ‘automatable’ is a vital investment. In the last two years, the decision to do so has become far less of an option and much more a competitive necessity, with those not embracing it falling behind that of their competitors and impeding their own success as digital transformation takes hold.

Channel Trends Report 2023

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Sustainability, Customer Experience, Culture, Leadership, Purpose and Alliances all contribute to a business’ Total Experience and getting the balance wrong can be the difference between winning or losing in the marketplace.


Transformed from last year’s Channel Confidence Index, the 2023 Channel Trends Report delves into core aspects of Channel Businesses, from ESG and culture, to supply chain disruptions and future growth. With an increasing focus on customer experience and employee engagement, it has never been so clear to Channel firms that the adoption of total experience is the only way up.

With a rapidly changing landscape, we must gather as much information as efficiently as possible to build resilient strategies, that not only ensure the safety of our businesses, but enable them along with our people, customers, and investors to thrive.

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When asking Technology Channel leaders how optimistic they were about the future success of their company in the next 12 months, they ranked 7.6 out of 10, which is down from 7.8 last year.

It can seem an overwhelming responsibility for Channel Leaders to dedicate resource to every area, but whilst businesses in the Technology Channel are understandably monitoring their bottom line, it’s important to remember that profit and purpose don’t need to be an “either-or”.

To download your free copy of the 2023 Channel Trends report, fill out the form here.

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Developing an Agile Growth Strategy

Meet The Team - John Hayes-Warren at CRN ON

Chief Revenue Officer at Agilitas, John Hayes-Warren, reveals how the company is responding to today’s market challenges.

Tell me about Agilitas and the company’s ambitious plans for the next three years.

Agilitas is a leading global innovator of customer-driven IT Channel services. Our growing team is passionate about delivering first-class IT services on behalf of vendors, IT resellers and managed service providers to extend their service capability and improve customer satisfaction. We deliver solutions across workspaces, servers, storage and networking technologies to Channel partners in over 60 countries. Our services include maintenance services, technical support, professional services and specialist engineering resources.

We recently announced our new leadership and direction for the next three years – placing customer experience at the centre of our transformation. These ambitious plans are part of our progressive growth strategy, and we are working with our people and partners to continue to define a strong purpose, vision, and service portfolio. We are well-positioned to serve the industry and respond to today’s market challenges, making FY24 a defining year in our company history.

You mentioned that these plans will make FY24 a defining year in Agilitas’ history, how will you and your team accomplish this?

Our mission has always been to enable our customers to scale and innovate with confidence, delivering global sustainable, innovative technology services that provide the foundations for customer success and efficiency. With this in mind, we will continue to invest in the UK and international Technology Channel, focusing on partnerships to digitise their operating models. With digital transformation breaking down international barriers, we also plan to help the Channel address opportunities that allow partners to expand without geographical limitations.

Additionally, we are ramping up our investment in skills to retain and attract talent to help spearhead our organisational change. Our team is continuously working to enhance our system integration to automate workflows and evolve our proposition to enhance digital access to all services, reinforcing Agilitas’ ethos of putting customer experience at the core of everything we do.

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What were the reasons behind Agilitas’ decision to put customer experience at the heart of its transformation and growth strategy?

It’s no secret that the Technology Channel faces challenges related to changing customer demands. With the democratisation of technology, we recognised that more power is moving to the consumer, and their focus is on rapid digitalisation and achieving outcomes. Whether that is based on improving customer experience or boosting operational efficiency, we need to address this and re-evaluate how we do business going forward to find the right balance between profit and purpose.

In addition to enhancing our offerings, we are continually looking for ways to improve the experience we provide throughout the onboarding process, ongoing support and at the time of contract renewal. With end customer demands changing at an exponential rate, we are set to leverage the growing portfolio of tools, integrated touch points and customer service processes to improve our customer’s experiences in the longer term.

Agilitas is known as a leading provider of global technology solutions, what are your plans to enhance the company’s offering and core competencies?

We plan to focus on three core areas, Inventory Assurance, Professional Services and Smart Logistics, which are all underpinned by our sustainability initiatives. Inventory Assure is based on our ability to maintain end-customer environments globally, with Professional Services acting as an extension of our customer’s engineering capabilities. This accelerates time to revenue with skills and resources to ultimately streamline deployment.

Smart Logistics is then centred around how we optimise warehouse, logistics and circular economy services. This enables our clients to scale with confidence knowing they have the right OPEX business model that scales in line with their business growth and allows them to invest in new capabilities to stay ahead of the curve.

Tell me more about how Agilitas’ growth strategy is already taking shape.

Despite this period of change for Agilitas and the wider Technology Channel, I’m pleased to see that our growth strategy is already taking shape with our customer base growing at speed. Agilitas brings an in-depth understanding of supply chain and skills to the market, ensuring our customer platforms remain resilient. We package these solutions ‘as a service’ to ensure clients understand their exact cost base to maintain and deliver resilient IT systems key to their operation to a high quality.

Our biggest opportunity is to work with partners and help them pivot their investments to stay ahead and develop their offerings – scaling with confidence knowing we have the right model to service and maintain their client’s hardware estates without compromise, to high service levels and with predictable cost.

Our strategy is directed at three key areas:

  • Developing access to our services digitally to ensure we are easy to do business with and can provide rich insights on the performance of our services.
  • Continual improvement of our core services and delivery, such as remote monitoring of estates to proactively ensure maximum uptime of hardware estates.
  • Continual investment of our people to ensure we harness the experience and ideas that will make a difference to our customers
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To what extent do you expect Agilitas’ channel to grow this year/next and where will that growth come from?

Most of our channel partners are focussing their investments to increase the resilience of their business and customers alike. We are witnessing rapid progression in managed services and consumption-based service models to drive annuity to underpin longer-term confidence for investment and liquidity. This will provide a significant opportunity for a pure service business like Agilitas to underpin these efforts and maintain high levels of customer experience.

There are three trends that I’m tracking with our clients where we can specifically assist in driving growth:

  • Whilst there are significant headwinds of global macro and economic challenges, digitisation is removing the boundaries of the global reach of both service and logistics. We have witnessed some of our largest growth clients seeking to outsource these services to partners who can deploy services globally with ease. They in turn are becoming hugely successful as they have designed their business to meet the needs of their clients, not having internal competing organisational design structures that limit the ease and scope of business.
  • There is no doubt that the workplace has changed which in effect has exploded the proliferation of assets contained within an organisation to remain productive and secure. Many technology organisations benefitted from this change through COVID. It will be interesting to see how the strains on organisations to invest and advance their offerings, how they balance their costs to sustain and protect a remote workforce and what help they may need. I see an increase in workforce asset outsourcing becoming more common.
  • The need for end customers to outsource certain operations via Managed Services is creating an interesting dynamic. The focus on customer experience rather than the flavour of OEM will become more apparent. From our perspective, we are already seeing some winners and losers in the OEM hardware supply chain due to availability and we will need to navigate a path that enables us to support our partners accordingly.
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Would you say that 2023 is a pivotal year for businesses across the Technology Channel? And what challenges do businesses in the industry face?

It’s not an overstatement to say that 2023 is a pivot point for many Channel organisations. One of the biggest influences has been the continued supply chain disruption that has massively impacted product availability, and this is set to continue into the second half of this year. This issue has led to some disintermediation of the conventional Channel value chain, meaning many businesses have been streamlining or choosing a different route to market in order to reconfigure logistics networks and delivery partners.

Additionally, we have also seen an increasing expectation around Channel businesses enhancing their sustainability initiatives and focusing their efforts on the circular economy. There is now a need for dedicated resources to back these initiatives and enable decision-makers to take the lead in terms of tracking their upstream and downstream supply chains which are associated with scope 3 carbon emissions.

To competitively position themselves for the future of the Channel, organisations need to define a strong purpose, communicate this clearly with all relevant stakeholders and demonstrate how employees and partners will contribute to the overall vision. Those who can weather the short-term pain during this moment of inflexion will reap the rewards as we move through 2023 and beyond.

Democratisation of Technology

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Changing Channel: Democratisation of technology accelerating digital adoption.

It’s no secret that technology is a primary stimulant for change across industries, and that is no different for those working in the Channel.

While it remains difficult to predict how these technology trends will evolve, businesses must be seen to be planning ahead to the best of their abilities in order to get on top of emerging technological developments. This means anticipating how they can leverage their tech in line with their competitors, without these efforts they risk being left behind.

With the sector evolving at pace, Channel leaders are now coming up against changing customer expectations, so to address this, they have to find the best way to manage the democratisation of technology. Following a recent survey, Gartner already predicts that by 2025, 55% of all successful emerging technology solutions will be delivered to ‘nontraditional’ buyers – for example, outside IT – within enterprises, enabling vendors to expand into new markets and forge new customer relationships.

It’s not an overstatement to say that the power now lies with the customer, and they are demanding faster digitalisation and solutions. Whether it’s improving customer experience or boosting operational efficiency, businesses in the Technology Channel need to reconsider how they can adapt to these challenges and stay relevant in tomorrow’s fast-paced world.

Democratisation of Technology – Why Does It Matter?

The democratisation of technology is not all doom and gloom, as it can lead to much quicker developments in the industry. Advancements that once would have taken years to come to fruition now occur in a much shorter space of time. Channel leaders, therefore, need to assess how to best utilise the growing portfolio of digital tools available to them, as well as how to integrate touch points and customer service processes to reap the rewards.

This can come in many forms such as providing more tools to more employees. With technology advancing and permeating all areas of the Channel workplace, greater amounts of employees are seeing the benefits of integrating technology into their job roles. With services like the Cloud enabling businesses of all sizes to access more technology, employees can utilise powerful software from their web browsers, regardless of their location.

This in turn elevates the skill levels of those employees, with the democratisation of technology also leading to democratising skills. With better skills, the capabilities of the software that employees use can be increased, meaning implementing more sophisticated B2B platforms. With Channel businesses continuing to advance, no-code platforms, for instance, can be used to automate workflows and enhance the organisation’s composability.

The Advantages of Democratising Technology

When used effectively, the benefits of technology democratisation are vast. From increased employee productivity to greater scope for innovation, Channel companies can also look to enhance agility and improve their resilience against digital disruption. Those that don’t embrace new technologies and democratise their resources quickly risk losing out, so to address this, a structured digital adoption programme is necessary. This ensures that the new technology can be implemented seamlessly to bolster overall performance.

Democratising technology, however, is not something that can be done overnight. It requires planning, effort, and organisational change, all areas that Channel businesses are learning to embrace following a challenging few years.

Democratisation of Technology
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Democratising Technology Flows Through Businesses

To meet demands while minimising disruption, Channel leaders need to provide a governance framework with some form of standardisation in place, all while encouraging users to be brave while embracing their mistakes.

Despite initial changes and uncertainty, the long term benefits that unified service management solutions can bring to a Channel business through increasing efficiency, productivity and satisfaction right through to greater ROI is something that can’t be overlooked.

Having a single integrated service management platform can bridge silos, reduce costs and improve visibility. It also enables Channel firms to leverage the power of AI to push teams to make smarter service desk decisions that increase agent productivity and elevate employee experiences.



The Modern Workforce Is Leading The Way

The future looks bright for those in the Channel industry who are successfully implementing new technologies, especially those achieving democratisation. The demand for increased agility and flexibility by modern workforces means that IT teams are no longer ‘gatekeepers’ to the technology, with every department having a lot to gain from what is on offer.

For business leaders, choosing technology that is easily accessible is vital, and consulting with employees beforehand will help ensure that the democratisation of technology flows through the business, irrespective of its size.

90% of CEOs and data specialists are already focusing on data democratisation for their organisations, leading the way for others to follow suit. The more Channel firms that provide the tools required, the easier it will be to boost employee engagement and productivity – two major benefits of technology democratisation.

View the article in IT Supply Chain
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How can equity challenge gender stereotypes?

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Following on from International Women’s Day, we spoke to experts across a number of industries about what comes next, how obstacles can be overcome and what success looks like to them.

Fighting for the future

Each year, women make significant progress in tackling the issues they face every day, however, there are new challenges being identified all the time.

“The sector has battled a notorious reputation as a ‘boy’s club’ for decades,” says Bev Markland, Chief People Officer at Agilitas. “And whilst we have seen improvements in gender diversity over recent years – 25% of tech company board seats are held by women now compared to 17.4% in 2018 – there is still a considerable amount of work to do to balance the scales.”

This statement reflects what is frequently seen in headlines, with one recent article highlighting that gender diversity in tech leadership fell from 86% in 2020 to 59% in 2021. However, with female representation in tech workforces in 2022 up slightly more than 2% from 2019, technology businesses must continue to push and overcome these systemic issues.

Courtney Hopkins, VP, Strategic Partnerships, EMEA at Rokt agrees, with the company putting these efforts front of mind. “We are a hyper-growth community that embraces diversity within the workplace and strives towards unleashing the potential of people and ecommerce.

“Being mission-driven, Rokt embraces transparency as a cornerstone for fostering diversity across its business, building a people-first community and empowering all employees by embedding it in every aspect of the company, such as publishing salaries, weekly CEO reports and an annual conference. This transparency allows equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender, race, or background.”

What does success look like?

Success for women can mean different things depending on their experiences, backgrounds, and cultures. For success to be instilled in the female workforce, it needs to be encouraged from a young age.

“From an early age boys are encouraged to make mistakes that they can learn from,” says Debby Clement, VP of Talent at Pax8. “This naturally breeds confidence to try new things and gives boys the belief that they can push themselves to new limits and achieve success in all walks of life. This includes their careers, where they are actively encouraged – and feel confident enough – to take risks for professional success.”

However, an area that has seen significant achievements for women in recent years has been an increased representation in positions of power. Women have and continue to break down barriers in fields such as politics and business, and in industries ranging from retail to manufacturing.

“There have been some improvements but unfortunately I believe there is a long way to go,” expands Carmel Doyle, Operations Director, Europe & Asia, Teamwork Commerce. “I still see many times when men are held in higher regard than women in the same position or females are passed up on progressing in their career because of their gender.”

With dedicated support internally, businesses can build a culture that empowers women and pushes them to not just feel comfortable in their roles but creates somewhere where they feel they can flourish on rewarding career paths. This is something that we are already seeing in a number of technology sectors.

“In my role as Chief People Officer, I take pride in assembling and maintaining this diverse and inclusive workforce,” explains Markland. “This is not just the key to our own success as a business but also to the sector overall.”

Hopkins agrees. “Women who Rokt, is a group which is dedicated to empowering the women within our workforce. The group is open to all Rokt’stars and hosts multiple events throughout the year. Creating a space for groups such as this works to build a safe and open space for women to discuss what matters to them, share their successes and aid others in reaching their full potential.”

How do we go about breaking down barriers?

One of the main areas frequently discussed is how the industry can support those who have additional responsibilities outside of the working day that require them to operate differently to those around them. Despite this becoming a necessity in the current climate, many organisations aren’t always sure where to begin when it comes to implementing new ways of working.

“Looking at the working day structure and providing flexible working options to mothers,” says Doyle. “Also continuing to learn by reading about gender equity and equality issues. By providing access to resources that can help women achieve their career goals, companies can recognise the Gender Pay Gap issue and ensure that all positions are paid equally regardless of gender.”

However, in order for new requirements to take effect, traditional ways of working need to take a back seat. The workplace is a different place post pandemic and needs to continue to evolve and nurture its team members.

“These older ways of thinking provide a stereotypical view of a woman’s role in society, before new ideas and expectations became essential,” says Georgina Goff, Marketing.

Communications & Sustainability EMEA at Flex. “For example, a clear inhibitor to career progression was the view that, as the primary caregiver, women had to strike a balance between work and home life.

“Such a sentiment is backed by numerous studies which present the socially constructed difference between the sexes and how they approach careers, where men were free to focus on their careers while women ought to prioritise their family.

So what are the next steps for technology organisations?

“To overcome this, the challenges for equality and equity within a workplace are ongoing, regardless of the industry,” concludes Goff. “This, together with ‘maternal wall’ biases has led to an erosion of confidence in women who might otherwise aspire to hold a leadership position. It remains a factor that gives rise to the imbalance in gender still seen today.”

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