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The Channel Steps up to Solve Hybrid Working Woes

19 May 2021

Despite the wider uncertain economic conditions businesses are currently facing the channel has been a crucial component in transitioning companies to digital technologies and helping them craft new ways of working.  

The next phase of hybrid working comes as government support for businesses starts to wane. The work the channel has enabled will be put to the test as countries start to relax their restrictions. 

A commissioned study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Elastic, February 2021 – Base 1,000 global IT leaders and decision-makers showed 60 % were investing in employee experience to improve the productivity and performance of a distributed workforce. The same report stating that 57% of IT leaders believe that enabling employees to work flexibly and remotely will improve the adaptiveness of the business but, only 40% have the right tools, policies, and procedures to support a remote workforce and flexible work arrangements. 

We asked Justin Hamilton-Martin (Director – Enreach for Service Providers) what kinds of challenges are still to be solved when it comes to hybrid working and what the opportunity for partners will be moving forwards into 2021 as businesses continue to define their business models, ways of working and the future of their working culture.  

What are the major challenges the channel face in terms of implementing hybrid working products and services for their customers?

“Many channel firms are in the same position as businesses: they are not sure where to start. The answer is, of course, cloud-based unified communications, because it enables them and their customers to get up and running fast, and without needing to do their own investments and technology investments” 

“However, as more channel players get on board with UCaaS, this is going to become a crowded and competitive market. Therefore, it is vital that channel companies start differentiating themselves as soon as possible. This can be achieved by using UCaaS platforms that offer flexible and open integrations, so that customized solutions can be built easily and rapidly.  

In addition, demand for mobile UCaaS is accelerating, so there is a real opportunity for the channel to get on board with that early and grab market share ahead of their competitors. 

One thing to bear in mind is customer relationship ownership: agency business models effectively take the contract and engagement away from the channel. I consider that a dangerous way forward: the channel needs to carry on owning the customer relationship, with the platform provider focusing on support if and when required.” 

How will the hybrid working evolve this year and what does that mean for Channel?

“Hybrid working is here to stay and so companies are realizing that they now have to plan for the long-term and lay down the right foundations for a more flexible and fluid work environment. They are moving away from the quick-fixes of 2020 and are looking for more business-grade solutions. For the channel, there is a huge opportunity to help those businesses navigate towards a more seamless and consistent hybrid work environment, using UCaaS and mobile-enabled UCaaS. Plus, by moving conversations beyond just voice and connectivity products, resellers and service providers can expand their offerings, add more value, and build additional revenue.  

“As UCaaS continues to evolve, so will the opportunities for the channel, for instance adding cloud-based contact centres as part of a UCaaS solution, and integration of more AI to enable smarter, more relevant engagement between users and customers” 

 

This article was posted on UC Today.