THE YEAR 2020 is upon us, and channel pros are looking to achieve growth through branching out to both new and existing customers and embracing emerging technology, according to the IT Industry Outlook 2020 report from industry organization CompTIA. Both will require having the right skill sets in place.
The survey results reveal that 60% of channel pros believe the top way to ensure growth will be the ability to reach new customers, followed by gaining more business from existing customers and increasing internal efficiency (tied at 47%).
A whopping 94% of respondents expect significant or modest gains from emerging tech. Topping the list with the most potential are artificial intelligence (37%), the Internet of Things (32%), 5G (27%), serverless computing (25%), and edge computing (20%). Notably, when CompTIA asked respondents if they could instantaneously gain expertise in either a new technology area or a vertical industry specialty, 70% chose a new technology area.
That said, a third of firms say they face difficulties finding talent with skills in emerging tech and other new disciplines. Indeed, just 19% of respondents say they are fully staffed at both technology- and business-related positions. And the biggest obstacles to hiring are competing with other tech firms for talent (60%) and rising salary expectations (46%).
To address these challenges, 37% of respondents say they are hiring a full-time HR manager while 34% are targeting searches in more diverse candidate locations and 31% are relying on contract help.
Another challenge the channel faces is a longer sales cycle, with nearly 4 in 10 channel firms saying they’ve seen an increase over the past year. Respondents attribute this to the growing complexity of technology (69%), security concerns (51%), and non-IT decision makers (47%).
The channel is no stranger to challenges, however, and as the CompTIA report points out, “with challenges come opportunity.”