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COVID-19 and the new normal: where
are the opportunities for our partners?

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the global economy is only just becoming clear. With a recession potentially on the horizon, channel partners (CPs) are looking for new opportunities and sources of revenue to rebuild pipeline, boost cashflow and protect their businesses moving forward. Doing this successfully involves understanding how landscapes have evolved and how companies are adapting to the demands of the new normal.

 

A changing landscape

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has caused unprecedented change across the market. For example, we’re now seeing a greater emphasis on remote collaboration as thousands of people are working from home; Zoom has recorded a staggering 300% increase in daily usage compared to pre-pandemic, while Microsoft Teams has seen a 500% increase in calls. The adoption of these technologies has taken place alongside swift digital transformations and businesses who have typically been slower to adapt are now facing monumental operational changes.

 

Adjusting to a new landscape has become a priority for all businesses. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a return to the office en masse in the near future. Instead, we might see the growth of hotel ‘hubs’ used by companies on a drop-in system. It’s no surprise, then, that improving the working from home experience and collaboration has become a top priority for many. As such, there has been a renewed demand for cloud-based services and equipment that enhance home working.

 

So, as the dust begins to settle, how can partners sell into the public sector, enterprises, and SMEs? Let’s take a look.

 

New opportunities

The public sector is concerned with day-to-day operations and protecting cash flow right now. Recovery will be gradual with funds for previous projects potentially being relocated elsewhere. Yet, the situation has re-iterated the need for online public services and digital transformation across the board. Moving forward, the sector will see an increase in trials of remote and healthcare management, a focus on flexibility and resilience of critical infrastructure, and a greater use of cloud solutions.

 

Here lies opportunities for channel partners with public sector customers seeking connective technology, such as secure SD-WAN solutions, to support operations. The caveat is that partners must be listed to sell into the public sector, so those that aren’t on the frameworks should seek strategic partnerships with those who are.

 

Corporate and major customers across utilities and professional services that haven’t been severely impacted by the pandemic present a key selling opportunity for your partners. As they continue to work from home over the next few months, they’ll be looking for unified communications solutions in addition to managed services support, cloud services, voice IP, collaboration tools and security solutions.

 

They will also likely experience the acceleration of digital transformation across the business in order to keep pace with the new, evolving customer journey. Security remains a key concern, with corporate and major customers potentially at a higher risk of cybersecurity attack as criminals target those who are working outside of standard office-based policies.

 

Small businesses which have an online retail presence and those offering delivery services have seen a sharp increase in demand over the last few months; 45% of small businesses are selling online more and 46% expect their use of digital to increase in the future. Whilst some have succeeded, physical shops, restaurants and non-essential travel have suffered a lack of revenue. In the long term, this could lead to an acceleration of digital offerings -- electronic payments and home delivery, for example -- as well as a decline in the demand for traditional office spaces, as activity in major cities reduces.

 

To accommodate the move online, businesses will be looking for support with broadband and networks, voice and critical support beyond telecoms including security, cloud systems and IT support. As employees’ confidence and skills with using equipment grow, so will their demand for the latest resources to support their work, creating a key selling opportunity.

 

Adapting for the new normal

Partners need to be agile when it comes to this new business environment. The landscape has changed significantly, with some businesses facing huge challenges which have varying short- and long-term impacts. Whilst this new normal will close the door on some old opportunities, it’ll create new ones to explore, too – and BT Wholesale is enabling partners to do just that.

 

As we all adapt to a changing environment and a new way of working, it’s important to be on-hand to assist the change. Our Managed Services capabilities can save partners time, hassle and money-making processes simpler and easy to navigate. We are able to enhance resources, plugging into any gaps to keep projects running and our Managed Install supports channel partners at every point in their journey, not just when supplying equipment, but providing an end-to-end service to ensure it continues to add value.

 

Ultimately, we’re helping channel partners to reduce expenditure, optimise processes and deliver growth by improving service execution capabilities, and we’re consistently exploring innovative solutions to ensure they in turn can support their customers’ changing priorities in the new normal.

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