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The Channel Company’s Bob Skelley: We’re Going To Continue To See ‘Sustained’ IT Demand

‘We saw that the technology industry could rise to the occasion that the CIOs of our industries could do it, and that our people could quickly adapt and implement those solutions in their home office environments, and be able to go back to work. Unbelievable, it’s really a testament to the industry, the people and everybody involved,’ says The Channel Company CEO Bob Skelley.

For more than three weeks now, many business professionals have been forced to work from home, which has led to a surge in tech purchases but also a shortage of products.

All this, according to a survey conducted of 320 solution providers from March 20-25 by CRN parent The Channel Company.

“We had, literally over a weekend, companies making a decision to move to full work-from-home environments, and that may have been thought of as almost impossible prior to [the coronavirus outbreak] and companies did it,” The Channel Company CEO Bob Skelley told CRNtv in an interview.

Now looking back at “the resiliency, the human spirit” it took for those firm to get their people up and running on a Monday morning, Skelley told CRN, “it showed the technology was ready for it.”

What have we learned from The Channel Company survey?

“We’re seeing that there’s a real spike in IT demand, especially, enabling the mobile workforce and as you know companies in a very short amount of time had to scramble to equip their employees to be able to work from home — with some companies that wasn’t a cultural norm — and so both from the CIO as well as the solution providers and the technology manufacturers supporting them, we’ve seen that entire ecosystem have to respond very quickly to this mobile workforce,” said Skelley.

Fifty-six percent of more than 300 channel partners surveyed have said they’re seeing a “significant” spike in the IT demand to enable work-from-home capabilities.

Where are we seeing increased demands to meet the needs of a growing mobile workforce?

“It’s where you would expect. It’s things in like, remote management, mobile devices and laptops, the cloud of course because more companies are aggressively moving to the cloud to support this environment. Security, business continuity, networking, even unified communications. So all of those technologies are seeing a very significant increase in demand,” Skelley said.

Now when it comes to spending, how are businesses prioritizing their investments?

“So what we’re seeing is that solution providers, in particular, are looking to grow partnerships and expand their partnerships so that they have a better resource and a better pool of capabilities to draw from to support their customers. And so now more than ever, solution providers are clamoring for new relationships in mobile devices and laptops, servers and storage because you need the infrastructure to support those environments, in business continuity, security,” said Skelley.

“[We’re also] seeing prioritization by the CIO and spending in those areas, and we’re seeing prioritization by the solution providers to build partnerships to support that demand,” he added.

Seventy-five percent of solution providers surveyed said the “boom” will last up to three months, and close to 20 percent believe it will last longer. What do you expect?

“I think that that’s the way we’re going to see it. There’s still some pent up demand both for components and devices, and equipment that you need to continue to build out these environments. I think the solution providers are seeing a very steady increase in what their customers are looking for and how they can support them,” Skelley said.

He said he believes “a quarter or more of sustained IT demand is absolutely something we’re going to continue to see.”

What was most impactful after reviewing the survey results?

“We saw that the technology industry could rise to the occasion that the CIOs of our industries could do it, and that our people could quickly adapt and implement those solutions in their home office environments, and be able to go back to work. Unbelievable, it’s really a testament to the industry, the people and everybody involved,” said Skelley.

Head over to CRNtv to learn more on how the coronavirus is impacting the IT channel.

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