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SMBs need channel partners to help with hybrid work shift

SMBs are looking to invest in technology more than ever before to tackle changes to working life

Remote working continues to bring opportunities for channel partners as SMBs look to adapt for the long term, the latest research from Giacom, Digital Wholesale Solutions (DWS) and Union Street has found.

The providers, which now form part of the same group of companies, surveyed more than 200 small business leaders and discovered that almost 70% are feeling overwhelmingly positive about their business moving forward, while 67% are confident in their growth prospects.

These SMBs said they are looking to invest in technology more than ever before to tackle changes to working life. 

With remote/hybrid working here to stay, 94% said they recognise that adaptations are necessary to support this new way of operating their business.

SMBs highlighted four clear and immediate priorities. The first centres on making collaboration more than just a stopgap solution, with many having deployed Zoom or Microsoft Teams over the last year. They require help understanding what will work for the long term.

They also said fixing home broadband remains a key task, with more than 40% of businesses reporting problems with staff working from home caused by poor networks. More than 60% said they are ready to invest to give their teams business-grade, secure connectivity at home.

Small businesses also want to put in place a cloud or hosted telephone system, with many having diverted their landlines to mobiles during lockdown periods. 

Additionally, SMBs want to join together collaboration and communications, so as not to silo customers and staff.

For channel partners, this landscape presents an "incredible opportunity" to help these businesses move forward, the survey said. 

Partners will be key to helping SMBs shift to the cloud, implementing fibre and 5G, keep on top of security, distributing software to staff, as well as automation across the business.

“During the first lockdown, businesses rushed to put temporary fixes in place, to get everyone working from home,” the survey explained. “Now, awake to the fact that this change in the way everyone works is here to stay, they need to invest in fixing remote working for the long term.”

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