Customer Financing Needs Outstrip Partner Capabilities, IDC Says

The gap between customer IT financing requirements and channel partner capabilities continues to widen amid volatile credit and capital markets, according to a recent survey from IDC.

Eleven percent of channel partners surveyed reported that they do not have access to capital to continue “business as usual.” When the findings are segmented to examine different sized resellers, nearly 20 percent of resellers with annual revenues less than $5 million reported they had inadequate access to capital.

Quantifying the whipsaw effect volatile credit markets have had on IT leasing and financing sales programs (which were readily availability 18 months ago), nearly half of channel providers reported having more trouble getting customers financed in the current environment. This percentage rises to 73 percent among small partners.

Sixty-four percent of large channel partner respondents reported that their customers have more interest in IT financing and leasing programs than six months ago. At the same time, 40 percent of these same channel partners said they do not anticipate the need to introduce and educate their customers on the benefits of leasing and financing as a ways to procure needed IT resources.

“IDC believes that beyond a reseller’s human capital, access to financial capital and credit are the second most important business resources; therefore, understanding the real-time risks and opportunities confronting these critical segment of the IT solution chain will be an important bellwether for the entire IT industry,” said Joseph Pucciarelli, program director, Technology Financing and Management Strategies. “The captive financing units for the major IT vendors have worked for many years to develop and deliver financing solutions to their solution providers. These latest research findings suggest significant gaps remain.”

“In these times of economic volatility, some technology providers have tended to focus disproportionately on larger channel providers,” said Janet Waxman, vice president, Infrastructure Channels and Alliances. “This research project once again has confirmed that the smaller channel providers, those with less than $5 million in annual revenue, have more optimistic economic expectations for 2009 despite having to overcome more severe consequences from the shifting capital markets.”

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