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Comms partners uncertain about work-from-home future

A small survey of comms resellers by BT Wholesale and Cisco has found that digital transformation and customer buying processes have been speeded up, but there remains uncertainty as to the longer term implications of work-from-home.

They talked to around 100 comms partners to assess the changes in the last year, and future prospects. One conclusion was that around half said that customer companies will create a new completely flexible, hybrid model of office based and remote working, but around a third said business will stay 90%-100% office based with less than 10% working from home. But then 15% said it would be the other way round – 90%-100 virtual.

This will be an individual decision for individual businesses, the report says, and heavily dictated by business segment and roles, but it should be noted that in terms of recruitment, the greater the flexibility the greater the pool of candidates, and also that employee expectations will increasingly be for hybrid flexibility. But it notes: “Our survey responses showed a large majority believing that we will return to pre-Covid business practices within two years.”

The partners say that smaller businesses’ reaction to the crisis has been to manage costs – with two thirds of the sample “somewhat agreeing” that priority for many businesses in their current scenario is to manage costs rather than to accelerate digital investments for firms with 10-50 employees (18% completely agree).

Gavin Jones Channel Sales Director, BT Wholesale, reflects that BT Wholesale is getting feedback from partners that suggests that commercial flexibility is valued more highly than cost-reductions per se. As such businesses are streamlining their suppliers in favour of a smaller number of partners that they can work with to provide flexibility for end-customers.

The digital approach provides businesses with an effective middle path leveraging the now established ‘as-a-service’ model that now encompasses every aspect of the digital ecosystem including infrastructure-as-as-service, platform as-a-service and unified communications-as-a-service, says the report.

Download report here