Three quarters of channel partners in a recent survey said they are planning for both revenue and profit growth in 2014.
That's one finding released in Canalys' latest technology channel landscape quarterly review, which included a poll of EMEA channel partners by Candefero.
Canalys expects that the key drivers for channel partners in 2014 will be the gradual move to managed services and the hybrid IT environment as customers make decisions about which technology services to outsource. Canalys expects there will be an increase in spending in the commercial PC market as Microsoft ends XP support. Coupled with stabilizing northern European economies, this should lead to an uplift in commercial PC refresh.
Virtualization and the ever-present security threat are also likely to support EMEA channel-partner growth as customers look to their trusted partners to manage complex solutions and services.
"It is great news that channel partners are expecting to see growth in both revenue and profitability," Canalys principal analyst Alastair Edwards said. "We expect this growth will be driven by the continual shift to software and services, as channel partners move their business models away from the hardware-centric world of the past. Partners will continue to resell hardware, but infrastructure decision drivers are becoming more software-oriented."
Despite the wealth of opportunities, EMEA channel partners will continue to face budgetary pressure stemming from political uncertainty in Russia and the continued economic uncertainty, especially in southern Europe, Canalys said. For many partners, the key challenge in 2014 will be how they transform their businesses to capitalize on the new opportunities available to them. Employee recruitment and retention will remain core issues, Canalys said, as well as how to re-train existing employees to ensure they can support the move away from low-margin product resale.