The 2016 tech trends of security, cloud and workflow automation will have the greatest impact and growth on channel sales, according to a Nintex commissioned channel-driven survey of third party partners, value-added resellers and managed services firms.
The survey also found sales, operations and marketing departments have an increasing influence on technology purchases.
These lines of business (LOB) leaders, have a real and growing presence and influence in the sales process among their customers, the survey found.
Survey respondents report that LOB leaders are present 37% of the time in the sales process for software and technology purchases, with finance and procurement present in nearly a quarter of the deals.
For those who have encountered LOB leaders, sales and operations (68% for each) executives lead the way but marketing is involved nearly 45% of the time.
A notable percentage (nearly 40%) of those surveyed indicate the buyer in the sales process has changed over the last year.
New players have come into the sales process across all roles from owner/CEO/president, CIO, IT professionals, finance, procurement, to sales and marketing leaders - according to roughly 20% of respondents.
"As organisations continue their digital transformations, channel partners must expand their engagement with customers to focus their effort with LOB leaders and others outside of IT as these stakeholders have a much greater impact and influence on buying decisions than ever before," says Josh Waldo, Nintex VP of partner strategy and programmes.
"There is a significant and growing opportunity for the channel to act as the broker between the sales, operations, marketing, and IT departments within their customers' organisations especially as these customers navigate through digital change and work to make their businesses more autonomous rapidly,” he says.
Rising IT interaction across the business affects the channel
Almost 70% of respondents indicate there is moderate to significant interaction between IT and other departments within their customers' businesses.
Nearly 45% report that this interaction is increasing. While, 60% of those surveyed say the interaction between IT and the rest of the business has an effect on them and their business. And of those:
- 51% see a positive effect on the channel's approach to sales/service
- 40% play a role in facilitating the interactions (an opportunity for channel partners to drive value)
- 26% of respondents are seeing fractured relationships between IT and other departments which further emphasises the opportunity to be a broker while focusing on driving value for LOB quickly
Technology trends for the channel: security, cloud, and workflow automation
A third of respondents believe security (47%) and the cloud (26%) will have the greatest impact on both their business and their customers' businesses.
Interestingly, 26% believe mobility will have the most effect on their customers' businesses, but only 16% believe mobility will have the most effect on their own business.
Additionally, of the cloud-based solutions, nearly 38% of respondents predict workflow automation and employee collaboration/messaging are the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) capabilities likely to experience the greatest growth in the year ahead.
More than 50% of those who selected workflow automation expect to see automating human-centric processes to experience high usage next year.
"Lines of business managers are driving demand for process automation software and services," says Jim Lundy, Aragon founder and CEO.
"Business leaders recognise that empowering staff to better engage with their teams, partners, and customers is a competitive game changer.
“LOBs, who now control much of their own IT budget, are self-activating to create their own solutions for digitally automating analogue processes and bringing order to data chaos,” he says.
The channel-driven survey by Nintex was conducted by Research Now and completed by approximately 150 leaders from channel organisations.