Accounting, Law and Marketing Firms Present New, Expanded Channel Opportunities

Partners would do well to set their sights on uncovering new and expanded business opportunities with accounting, law and marketing firms.

CompTIA's Tim HerbertThat’s according to a new CompTIA online survey of 600 legal, accounting and marketing/PR professionals involved in managing, deploying or influencing technology decisions in their organizations. About half of those surveyed said they are well positioned with their technology visions and strategies, while the other half report shortcomings in some areas.

“At a time when innovation is rapid and pervasive, even the most tech savvy firms may struggle to keep pace,” said Tim Herbert, CompTIA’s senior vice president of research and market intelligence. “This is where a trusted technology partner can step in to provide guidance. In fact, nearly one-half of the firms we surveyed cite their need for greater technical expertise as a primary driver when they engage the services of an IT solution provider.”

With more than 428,000 business establishments and 4.3 million workers, accounting, law and marketing firms provide a “large base of potential customers for IT product, service and solution providers,” according to CompTIA. Nearly 88 percent of the firms have fewer than 10 employees, placing them directly in the “small business sweet spot for IT solution providers,” it said.

The market is also information-intensive in its use of computing devices, software applications and office technologies, with 78 percent of the firms saying technology is important to their business.

As for partners interested in doing business with these firms, Herbert said the “stronger the alignment between business objectives and technology solutions, the better the chances of an initiative exceeding expectations; otherwise, technology may be viewed as a cost rather than an asset.”

More than one-third (35 percent) of firms characterize themselves as frequent early adopters of technology. While most said they have IT expertise on staff, they also report many technology skills gaps, including cybersecurity (40 percent), cloud computing (38 percent), social media (36 percent), IT support (35 percent) and Web presence (35 percent).

Cybersecurity has become a higher priority for all firms over the past two years, according to the survey. Seven in 10 accounting firms, 64 percent of law firms and 61 percent of marketing firms said cybersecurity increasingly is an issue that’s elevated to the firm’s executive leadership.

A notable percentage of firms indicate they’ll be increasing spending on IT hardware, software, services and telecom, at least based on their self-reported growth rates. One-quarter of marketing firms, 21 percent of accounting firms and 18 percent of law firms said they intend to boost IT spending by 10 percent or more over the next 12 months.

Also, managed IT services are reaching just over one-third of professional services firms. The top reasons for not outsourcing IT functions to an outside company are a lack of need, concern about the costs and inability to find an appropriate provider, according to the survey.

“IT solution providers that can deliver the appropriate technology offering at the appropriate level will be best suited to meet the needs of customers regardless of where they are on the adoption curve,” Herbert said.

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