CompTIA Study Shows Tempered Optimism from IT Channel Companies

Information technology industry channel companies are generally optimistic and positive about future business opportunities, according to new research released by CompTIA, the IT industry trade association.

  • More than 60 percent of channel executives are hopeful that the channel will fare generally well in the next several years, CompTIA's Fifth Annual State of the Channel study reveals. The optimism is spread across most channel firms, though small companies (10-99 employees) and those in business less than five years are somewhat more pessimistic.

Channel partners cite a number of reasons for their general feeling of optimism.

"Cloud computing is opening many new doors for channel firms," said Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA. "They also report growing customer demand for managed services."

The broader use of IT by all types of customers also contributes to the channel's good feelings.

"They believe that customers still want a technology partner to serve as a 'trusted advisor,'" April said. "The complexity of today's technology and solutions, and the demand for technology expertise in specific vertical markets, have the majority of channel partners feeling good about business prospects."

Channel partners acknowledge that several factors can cause their business to slow down.

"They're worried about general business challenges — a dip in the economy, rising interest rates, lack of credit or capital," April said. "Concerns about closing skills gaps for emerging and complex IT, new competitors entering the market and vendors taking solutions directly to customers also give channel firms pause about their future."

When asked where they expect future business to come from, companies are counting on growth in delivering project-based solutions (56 percent of firms surveyed) and through recurring revenue streams from managed services (59 percent). Product sales garnered the lowest expectations, with 47 percent of channel firms expecting growth in the coming year.

CompTIA's Fifth Annual State of the Channel study is based on a July 2015 online survey of executives and professionals at 350 U.S. IT companies. Survey data was augmented with a series of in-depth, one-on-one interviews with senior-level IT channel executives.

The staff of Systems Contractor News serves the AV integration industry with thorough news analysis, trend reports, and the latest product and technology information—delivered to an audience of decision-makers.