10 August 2018
As a channel partner, understanding the issues facing your clients is essential for driving sales and building relationships. The UK productivity crisis, which has been heavily dissected by politicians, entrepreneurs and economists alike, is one such issue. If channel partners can understand the ins and outs of how it affects their customers, they have a unique opportunity to capitalise on it.
A difficult decade for UK productivity
Productivity is calculated by comparing output to hours worked, so it’s understandably a big concern for businesses. UK productivity has stagnated since the financial crisis of the late 2000s, and unlike other periods of growth and recession, this crisis doesn’t appear to be part of a cyclical boom and bust. In post-war Britain, growth averaged 2-3% up until the 2008 recession.
The last decade has been a tricky one, with little sign of respite. The UK has struggled to achieve pre-crisis growth levels, with a recent report from the Office for National Statistics showing that labour productivity fell 0.4% in Q1 of 2018. Boosting productivity is a top target for the government and businesses alike, so figures like this are disappointing. And let’s not forget that workers are feeling the pinch too, as higher productivity can drive wage growth.
What’s behind the productivity crisis?
The contributing factors are far from straightforward, making the problem all the more difficult for businesses to tackle. Some are broad and political in their scope; Brexit is a concern, of course, with companies delaying major investment decisions before the deal is done.
But some other causes are more easily tackled, like outdated and inefficient technology. Digital transformation can have a significant impact on productivity, as investing in new technologies improves worker efficiency. It’s an area where businesses can make a real difference to their internal productivity and processes.
The good news for channel resellers is that Gamma’s research shows 73% of IT decision makers believe that ignoring digital transformation as a way of improving business communications has a negative impact on business performance. But this doesn’t always translate to an eagerness to invest. It could be that some IT decision leaders simply aren’t aware of the direct link between digital transformation and improved output.
Which is where the opportunity for channel partners lies.
Convincing customers to invest in tech
Once the basics are in place, it can be hard to motivate businesses to keep investing and developing their digital platforms. But if businesses are truly keen to tackle the issue of low productivity, agile and adaptive technologies are an essential investment. It’s up to channel partners to help businesses tackle this issue head-on.
Whether it’s offering the power of a desk phone from a mobile to increase productivity on the move, or future-proof cloud platforms that can easily scale up to enable business growth, investing in the right tech is an obvious way for businesses to improve their output and streamline operations.
Reducing costs, improving efficiency
So, despite the clear advantages, why are businesses reticent about investing in their digital platforms? Cost is a natural concern for many IT decision makers: with resources stretched and productivity suffering, it can be tough to find the budget for digital transformation.
Channel partners can expect to meet this objection, but the fact is that the initial outlay of investing in digital platforms can quickly be offset by the improved efficiency of services. Gamma’s research reveals that over half of IT decision makers think greater efficiency in business processes is the primary outcome of implementing digital tech, which is a great statistic for channel resellers to bear in mind when building relationships with clients.
Helping clients improve productivity with digital transformation
The UK productivity crisis is bad news for businesses, but the ability of technology to counter this problem does create a real opportunity for channel partners. Having an understanding of how inefficient tech contributes to low productivity can help them to provide the solutions needed.
This not only drives sales, but also strengthens relationships moving forward, as businesses reap the benefits of efficient digital platforms. Ultimately, channel resellers can capitalise on the UK productivity crisis. It’s simply a question of highlighting the link between digital transformation and business success.
10 August 2018 | Justin Coombes
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.