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There was both good and bad news for channel this week.
First up, a new report from channel firm Logicalis suggests that CIOs are prioritising innovation to improve digital customer connections.
The study says that over the last 12 months there has been a shift in the defining aspects of the CIO role, with most respondents noting a significant increase in the time they now spend on innovation (79 percent), strategic planning (77 percent) and productivity (62 percent). This is a stark contrast to previous years, where most CIOs reported a lack of time to spend on both innovation and strategic planning.
So what does that mean for channel partners? Mark Benson, CTO at Logicalis UK&I told Nuzoo that to ensure their focus on delivering on this customer-centric approach, CIOs must shift from day-to-day IT management toward a more strategic role that aligns technology with business objectives. A such, “CIOs will continue to seek support from external services and third-party experts.”
This, of course, is good news for the channel. Said Mark: “The 2021 Logicalis CIO Survey finds that 35 percent of companies already invested in more third-party expertise over the past year and plan to increase it over the next year. External experts can help drive more efficient customer engagements, remove barriers to innovation, drive business growth and unlock future success in the rapidly emerging digital economy.”
On the flip side…
Elsewhere however, the channel looks to be facing significant challenges due to ingoing product shortages. New data from CONTEXT reveals that for the past year, the supply of notebooks, desktops, monitors and printers “has been running on empty.”
A straw poll CONTEXT conducted among a small number of channel executives also found a majority or near-majority claiming they’re seeing a 15 percent+ shortage in notebooks (68 percent), monitors (50 percent), networking products (50 percent), printing consumables (46 percent), and printers (41 percent).
The firm says there are some key questions partners should ask to understand how best to proceed. These include:
· How much of order backlogs is actually panic buying?
· How much of the current market picture is down to change in demand and how much is a result of product shortages?
· How can I best predict and secure prices?
· How big an impact are supply chain issues having and how can I make sure they’re as robust as possible?
“Everything with a chip in it is currently experiencing product shortages. There’s a high level of anxiety from retailers about how they’re going to serve customers in Q4,” said Adam Simon, global MD at CONTEXT.
“Two big questions remain: where do you place your bets, and how do you manage price uncertainty? Do you bet on solidity and commercial demand or that the consumer boom will continue? Do you go for premium or low-cost products? Do you go for long or short-term contracting? And when and how do you pass price rises on to end customers? These are the tough decisions channel businesses are having to make, which will have a big impact on their success.”
But despite the challenges facing the channel, tech stocks continue to soar. Figures for September 2021 versus two years previously show big gains for tech retail (32 percent), imaging (35 percent), infrastructure (40 percent), personal systems (82 percent), headsets/webcams (108 percent), distribution (226 percent) and GAFAM (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft) (123 percent).
Other factors mitigating the challenge of product shortages for the channel include rising prices and huge investment in production facilities by governments and chip companies.
Also of note are longer-term prospects for innovation, including hardware demand from education, cloud transformation and distribution-as-a-service.
Author: Christine Horton
Publish Date: 01/10/2021 16:10
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