Collaboration is the key to true channel globalisation

Colleagues collaborating around a table

In recent times we’ve seen a rising number of channel-dependent businesses expand their operations beyond the UK. It’s a trend that shows there’s a clear and healthy appetite among companies to explore new markets, while also adopting innovative technology and maintaining their focus on customer needs

With 39%of UK channel organisations expecting the global IT channel to expand in the next two years, and half of businesses actively looking to expand internationally in EMEA and North America, it’s clear globalisation remains a big opportunity.

There’s a positive outlook from the channel towards global growth, but UK businesses still need to recognise and tackle the challenges involved with the concept of globalisation. Logistical, practical and financial considerations can all be seen as barriers to international growth, though for many, these challenges can be easily overcome, allowing companies to expand into new markets and open up the chance for growth into other countries.

Financial security and political uncertainty play heavy on minds

Unsurprisingly, internal finances are one of the biggest factors channel businesses take into account when they’re looking to go global. Many firms find that having a presence within other regions can remove the financial risks of being purely UK-centric.

With the current political climate still uncertain, moreover, forward-thinking UK channel businesses can take the lead by exploring global markets. As a result, globalisation should be considered as a way to future-proof operations, and help mitigate risks.

The uncertainty the country faces regarding Brexit is without a doubt leaving many operating in the UK channel in a state of flux, with some organisations postponing their plans for expanding until beyond 2019. But recent research has also shown nearly a quarter of channel businesses are confident that Brexit may have little, or no impact, highlighting a degree of strength and resilience.

A rocky landscape for international trade

Another example of how the health of the worldwide channel market has mirrored global political shockwaves felt from one country to another is the ‘Donald Trump’ effect.

But as with Brexit these tremors are largely yet to be felt by UK channel businesses; Trump’s touted import/export policies are yet to have an impact on the channel’s direction when it comes to expanding into the US market.

With the majority of UK firms looking to expand into new markets, however, specifically targeting the US, the channel should be prepared for any changes Trump’s new policies may bring. Partnering with experienced global service providers with the know-how to successfully trade in new regions is a collaborative strategy that should benefit UK-based businesses.

Increasingly working with customers to develop solutions that meet both short and long-term objectives has also never been more important. As well as taking their own objectives into account, it’s essential that firms develop close and trusted relationships with their customers, in order to recognise the ambitions they’re also trying to achieve.

Overcoming barriers through collaboration

Increasing channel collaboration can help businesses develop a broader value proposition to target new overseas markets. With the expansion of customers across new territories, it is crucial for channel businesses to have built an ecosystem of collaborative partners to seamlessly deliver the day-to-day operation.

The businesses in the channel that are a strong position to grow on a global scale are increasingly embracing channel collaboration to offer new, relevant solutions to their customers, driving growth for both themselves and their customers.

Through collaboration, the global IT channel remains buoyant, despite political and financial instability, as well as the uncertainty companies are facing due to Brexit and fluctuating economic conditions. It’s evident that businesses must continue to collaborate internationally to ensure their services portfolio remains relevant. Taking advantage of a world growing closer will only offer further opportunities to deliver growth and value to one’s growing list of customers, achieving true channel globalisation.

John Street is operations director at Agilitas