IT channel optimism is at the “highest it’s been for five years”

Chart concept image suggesting IT channel upward confidence trend with varying increases.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Confidence in the future of the IT channel is currently at its highest level for five years, according to new research from Agilitas IT Solutions. 

Conducted in partnership with research firm Censuswide, Agilitas’ 2024 Channel Trends Report surveyed 250 figures from UK-based channel companies that see an annual turnover of more than £5 million.

It found that confidence in the channel has “reached its peak” amongst UK decision makers, with an overall confidence score from participants clocking in at 7.9 out of 10.

As optimism rides high, channel leaders appear to be focusing on key business areas such as embracing innovation, enhancement of the customer experience, as well as working to attract and retain top talent.

Businesses are also implementing a ‘total experience’ strategy for overall consistency across their organizations and to help achieve a better experience for stakeholders, with 85% saying they recognize the importance of delivering a superior customer experience.

IT channel confidence buoyed by the rise of AI

AI has begun to take a more prominent role across a wide range of industries in recent times, and the technology channel is no different, the study found. 82% of surveyed professionals stated they believe it will positively impact their business.

AI ranked top of the list of the expected impactful channel trends at 46%, followed by cyber security, data analytics, and data privacy, all at 44%. Automation rounded off the top 5 at 42%.

However, in terms of leveraging AI within their business, just 74% of respondents revealed that they were already adopting the technology as part of their strategies.

When it comes to balancing company culture with emerging technologies, the data also revealed a disparity between channel leaders and the wider workforce.


Channel leaders ranked their confidence in balancing the two at 7.8 out of 10, with 96% of CEOs stating that they were confident and 48% scoring a maximum 10 out of 10.

The responses from lower employee levels, however, unearthed a more nervous outlook, with just 46% of junior managers sharing the same level of positivity held by the CEOs and business leaders.

The report found that this apparent disconnect between CEOs and the workforce extends beyond the implementation of AI and emerging technologies and into other areas too, such as the delivery of a superior customer experience, and channel companies’ ability to foster a positive workplace culture.

Agilitas said the opinion gap is being influenced by several factors, including gaps in communication, differing perspectives on company goals, and a lack of transparency.

Sustainability a key focus in 2024 and beyond

Elsewhere, the channel continues to place importance on sustainability and Net Zero goals. However, despite 77% of surveyed businesses stating that sustainability will be a focus over the next twelve months, less than one in five are calculating their full carbon footprint across scopes 1, 2, and 3.

The data also revealed that 27% of channel firms had sought external help in attaining their sustainability goals, while a fifth of those surveyed had a dedicated member of staff in place responsible for sustainability.

A quarter said they now have a dedicated ESG team within their organization.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Agilitas CEO, John Hayes-Warren, highlighted the ongoing difficulty for organizations in tackling the current challenges across the industry.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for channel companies to prioritize their efforts, with increasing pressures related to emerging technologies, resilient company cultures, sustainability initiatives and the customer experience,” he said.

“Despite this, it’s promising to see many Channel leaders starting to put their strategies into action and keep pace with the market changes.”

Daniel Todd

Dan is a freelance writer and regular contributor to ChannelPro, covering the latest news stories across the IT, technology, and channel landscapes. Topics regularly cover cloud technologies, cyber security, software and operating system guides, and the latest mergers and acquisitions.

A journalism graduate from Leeds Beckett University, he combines a passion for the written word with a keen interest in the latest technology and its influence in an increasingly connected world.

He started writing for ChannelPro back in 2016, focusing on a mixture of news and technology guides, before becoming a regular contributor to ITPro. Elsewhere, he has previously written news and features across a range of other topics, including sport, music, and general news.