Print.IT Reseller - issue 79

Businesses will need to find a way to monitor and manage every aspect of their IT – applications, networking, security, and print PRINTITRESELLER.UK 45 VOX POP flavours of MPS will become more popular within the IT resellers as well as consumers at home, with offerings from Epson such as Print365 and ReadyPrint becoming increasingly popular. Sustainability is becoming more of a focus for Exertis as well as our print partners. We are seeing this with examples such as enhanced longer warranties and refillable ink solutions providing ultra-low running costs and reduced waste. Products too are becoming increasingly compact with smaller footprints and contemporary designs which fit neatly into most workspaces and homes using less electricity etc. and creating less waste. At Exertis, we continue to invest in our people and our specialist print team is expanding further to support the reseller channel with any enquiries they may have. As previously discussed we are now working in a closer partnership with our supplies business to ensure that we are offering a one stop shop for our partners, offering a full suite of technology and office products. Mike Barron, Managing Director, SYNAXON UK Managed services will continue to be a huge and growing opportunity. This is especially true now that there is going to be a greater inclination to allow and encourage home working and with that, a recognition that the office IT guru (whether it’s their specific role or not), won’t always be on hand to fix any problems that might arise. Businesses will need to find a way to monitor and manage every aspect of their IT – applications, networking, security, and print. This will be a very new concept to smaller businesses, so I’d expect good growth in the SMB and micro market for managed services – and I’d expect this to be provided mainly by ‘local’ resellers. While the concept of providing a ‘remote’ service means that the person providing the IT support and expertise could be just about anywhere, smaller businesses still want to be supported by experts who are local to them. I think there will also be a quite distinct opportunity in providing what I’d describe as a ‘distributed’ kind of managed service i.e. one that not only provides monitoring and management of on-premises IT, but also of the equipment and systems used for home working. That’s a completely new area but one that I know several MSPs are looking at. Separate to this, I think we will also see a continuation of the trend towards the use of finance leasing to fund equipment purchases. This has advantages for all concerned – for resellers it’s great as they get paid almost immediately. It also makes for ‘stickier’ customers who will be thinking ahead and looking at renewing their tech in two or three years, when the contract period ends. It’s hard to say exactly what the challenges and concerns will be or, more to the point, how serious they will be. The wider impact on the economy of the COVID-19 crisis is going to be the focus – and we just can’t tell how deeply that will affect markets at the moment. There will probably be some kind of rebound of economic activity once the crisis is finally allayed, but it’s what happens after that initial spike that will be most telling. The bigger the impact on businesses, the longer it will take to recover. On the positive side, I do believe that IT has a big role to play in helping the UK’s businesses to recover. To take some of the strain off them and help them make use of new technologies and services, such as the cloud, remote working, and managed services. While there are always going to be two sides of the same coin, I firmly believe we should look to the opportunities rather than the challenges. There will be plenty of work to do for resellers that are ready and genuinely want to help customers. I also think channel communities will be increasingly important in 2021. We have seen through this crisis just how important it is for teams and partners who have common interests and challenges to keep in contact and share their hopes, fears, and experiences. But we have been deprived of that personal, face-to-face interaction, and we are all really starting to miss that now. When the shackles are finally taken off us and we can safely meet again, I think we will see a new-found enthusiasm for networking events and community activity. That said, I think we have also seen just how much we can get done. James Reed, Managing Director – Endpoint Solutions UK & Ireland, Tech Data As ever, the opportunities and challenges tend to be two sides of the same coin. In the current climate, there is huge and sustained demand for any IT product that can enhance productivity in the home. The challenge for the industry is meeting that demand because it’s not just there in the UK and Ireland, the pandemic has accelerated demand globally. This is something we are helping our customers to manage and on the whole, that’s going well, and while I’d envisage the situation improving as we move into 2021, our advice continues to be plan ahead and order as early as possible, so that you can manage customer expectations sensibly. Further opportunities will emerge from the accelerated acceptance of home working – particularly with respect to the supply of productivity accessories, the provision of service and support, the management of devices and ongoing supply of consumables. Interestingly, we have also seen higher levels of interest in energy-efficient and eco-friendly products, including tank printers, and I’d expect to see that continue to gather momentum. Obviously, everyone will be concerned that the current situation does not perpetuate and extend too far into next year. That said, when we start to see a full return to work, there may be a further shift in priorities, and we may need to consider that as one of many possible situations that may develop. I think contingency planning will be really important, both for channel players and vendors, and we’re already working with many of our suppliers and customers to prepare for a number of different scenarios for the year ahead. Mike Barron James Reed