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Tech, Business Investments Now Will Be Key to Success Post COVID-19

Companies empowering themselves now—by investing in new technologies, services, and skills—have a better chance of recovering faster and securing long-term success coming out of the current economic crisis. It happened in the Great Recession, and it will happen again, said executives during a Power Panel at ChannelCon Online titled “What’s Next for the Channel?”

“Many in the channel were trying to tread water in 2008 and make sure they didn’t go out of business, but those that were able to invest were more robust when things got better. That’s an economic dynamic that exists and hopefully we’ll see that in the channel today,” said Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA, and moderator of the session.

It was a sentiment shared by the other panelists: preparing your business now to take advantage of new opportunities and new markets will provide a competitive benefit when “normalcy” returns.

Tim Basa, vice president of sales and operations at AppSmart, said many of his company’s partners have taken the time to educate and train their staffs during COVID-19, a notion that should serve them well going forward. “They’ve said ‘What can I do?’ Maybe they haven’t sold this product suite before, or they didn’t sell SaaS, but they wanted to pivot to SaaS or a contact center were quick to get educated,” Basa said.

During the last recession, about 25% of channel companies went away, said Amy Luby, channel chief evangelist at Acronis. That could happen again because of COVID-19, but—just like last time—we’re likely to see an influx of new channel partners as well.

“Many are operating at breakeven at any given any even during a good economy,” she said. “Many let go from corporate jobs [are looking] to do things differently, more creatively than the old business model at that time. It can be super challenging, but if you can [show] creativity and willingness to change, you can really do some neat things with your business and your clients.”

Meanwhile, Juan Fernandez, vice president of managed IT services at ImageNet Consulting and vice chair of CompTIA’s Channel Development Advisory Council, agreed that creativity is often borne from necessity, and he expects advances around powering the new mobile workforce and creating an improved customer experience.

“That’s opportunity we have, to innovate during this time. It’s 100% have to think differently,” Fernandez said.

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