The channel expects it will need to offer better cloud advice to SMBs in 2018

The channel experienced a positive year according to OneAffiniti’s annual channel report, with the cloud and security offering the biggest opportunities for resellers.

The research firm carried out the survey with support from vendors, asking more than 500 partners about their outlook on the year. 86% of resellers said their revenues were either stable (45%) or had increased (41%) over the 12 months.

“2017 was clearly better than expected. We have not seen the rapidly accelerated consolidation in the sector as some had expected. Better yet, 41.5 percent of the channel partners in the U.S. have actually seen revenue increase over 2017. The channel stood its ground in 2017.” said Michael Heldebrandt, VP and US manager for OneAffiniti.

Security was the strongest area of growth for the largest proportion of resellers. End users are increasingly looking for innovative ways to protect their infrastructure and this is being catered for by the channel. 32% of those making purchasing decisions within an organisation said they’d bought software to protect their business from threats in 2017, with 27% saying they’d invested in backup systems.

“SMB’s are rightly concerned about the security of their systems. We see here huge potential for resellers who advise their clients on the right products and services to protect themselves.” commented Heldebrandt.

Looking into the future, 68% of resellers think cloud presents the biggest opportunity for the channel. Specifically, SMBs don’t understand the importance of the cloud and therefore, the channel is able to clarify its role in modern IT. Those that do understand its importance need help moving to the cloud and private cloud offers an opportunity to businesses still tied to a datacentre.

“The cloud is not a menace to the channel. We see that IT resellers are increasingly becoming aware of how they can help educate their SMB customers on the cloud and offer them their own value-added services surrounding it.” says Heldebrandt.

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