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Leaseweb Global has published the results of research revealing that 84% of UK IT professionals think their IT partners are capable of providing more value to their organisations than they currently do.
The research, which explores 500 UK-based IT professionals’* experience with IT channel partners over the last two years, raises questions regarding the quality of the relationship between organisations and their channel partners. Overall, the results indicate that, while many were satisfied with factors such as their partner’s ability to provide educated advice and support business objectives, there is still work to be done in matters of budget and risk sharing.
Respondents were most likely to see value from their IT partners in their strategic advice (38%), knowledge of industry complexity (35%), availability to answer questions (30%), independent advice (29%) and a high-level view of the whole industry (28%). However, there were some areas for improvement that also emerged, with respondents least likely to see their partners as service agnostic (21%), or close to their organisation (18%).
Despite there being notable evidence to suggest that IT professionals acknowledge several benefits from their channel partners, the survey revealed that there are some fundamental issues which are currently affecting the relationship between organisations and their channel partners. For example, almost two-thirds (65%) do not share all the relevant budgetary information with their IT partner. In fact, 17% of respondents said that their organisation inflated budgets to try and get more for less from their partner. This is surprising when 85% of respondents thought that their IT partners actively share the risks associated with their organisation's decisions on infrastructure choices.
The reluctance of organisations to share relevant budgetary information with their IT partners may stem from a perceived lack of involvement on behalf of the partner. In fact, the survey also found that the majority (66%) of respondents want their partners to play a more active role in providing counsel on managing costs for the cloud services their organisation uses. And of the 66%, 22% said they would rather their partner played a much more active role.
Additionally, the research sheds light on which departments proactively manage cloud services and costs in UK organisations. Unsurprisingly, IT came out on top (76%), but it was also found that multiple other departments also play a proactive management role, including Accounting and Finance (24%), Operations (20%), Customer services (18%), Research and development (17%) and Purchasing (17%). This indicates that IT costs, and responsibility for managing these, are now less centralised within the IT department than has previously been the case. These findings also raise the question over how businesses should manage an ideal infrastructure that involves and supports all departments to work at their optimum level.
Finally, the results indicate that IT professionals are suffering from a lack of confidence in their ability to understand and advise the wider organisation on how infrastructure options will best support their business objectives. When it came to popular infrastructure such as public and private cloud, respondents were generally very comfortable in their ability to advise (89% and 87% respectively). However, with other infrastructure structures, such as colocation, the numbers decreased, with only 77% stating they were confident, 48% of which were only somewhat confident and 23% not confident at all. When it came to Iaas/Paas, only 80% were confident, 51% of these were only somewhat confident and 20% were not confident.
“The results of this study show it’s time we re-evaluated the current relationship between UK organisations and their IT partners,” commented Terry Storrar, Managing Director UK at Leaseweb. This is a clear call for channel partners to provide more value to their clients and put a greater focus on offering strategic and independent advice. There is also a huge opportunity to explore how IT partners can provide more value at a strategic and technical level, and to consolidate this relationship,” continued Storrar.
“The situation as it stands is less than ideal and there is much more value that can be offered on both sides. But as with any relationship, this is a two-way street and if organisations cannot offer full transparency when it comes to issues of budget, IT partners’ use will be severely limited,” Storrar concluded.