The traditional office model is a thing of the past. Organizations and end customers alike flipped the switch on where they work over the last year and a half, pivoting to remote work configurations across the board.
WFH has been a drastic shift, with companies needing to equip and enable employees to work from their residences when the pandemic hit. But, something else happened. Those who lived in cities no longer had a daily commute to worry about, resulting in many urban residents deciding to leave the cities altogether. Where did they go? The “exurbs” which are areas outside the denser inner suburban area of a metropolitan area.
The Pandemic Migration is Good News for Channel Partners
Partners should consider this migration as a benefit, as configuring remote work solutions has been an excellent moneymaker for partners over the last year. As we move to a predominantly hybrid model, that revenue stream will likely continue to flow. All of these remote workers also need security solutions, so there’s another source of substantial revenue. While we talk about technical parity for workers, organizations will need partners more than ever to procure, implement, configure, and manage this distributed workforce.
As partners’ service geographic regions transition from local markets to suburban and exurban America, it’s vital that vendors have a clear idea of where their partners are hunting. Channel conflict was easier to avoid when everyone worked in their same old neighborhoods. But as those lines get blurrier, deal registration and pipeline visibility become more critical than ever.
A Mass Exodus
Where are our urbanites turned exurbanites now? What does that mean for office spaces? According to mail forwarding data from USPS, 4.3% of Manhattan residents moved out of the city during the pandemic; 3.4 % moved out of San Francisco. There was a small surge back to these urban spots in May and June of this year. Still, the rise of COVID-19 variants and the continued ambiguity surrounding bringing people back to the office has real estate companies in big metropolises biting their nails.
Data from channel consultancy JS Group states that 53% of survey respondents say that one or more customers changed some or all of their service locations from centralized urban areas to the suburbs or exurbs. There are all sorts of reasons for this, from cost, commute, ongoing pandemic restrictions, and quality of life. This trend is not likely to slow down due to the shift in thinking regarding these elements.
For many, this is a welcome change. A report by Accenture found that 83% of those who can function from anywhere prefer a hybrid work model, and 63% of high-growth companies have adopted a “productivity anywhere” workforce model. Again, partners stand to reap some profound benefits here. There will be no shortage of setting up and managing remote-work configurations, security, and cloud services, as well as fixing things that break (because they will).
“The WFH phenomenon has made a lasting impact on our business,” says Dan Shapero, President and COO, TeamLogic, Inc. “When [the pandemic] hit, our ticket count went sky high helping businesses move their employees home. Configuring VPN and other remote access, cloud migration, and additional security considerations for those working outside the traditional security perimeter increased the workload for our teams.”
Shapero states that larger organizations with multiple locations turned to them for boots on the ground, remote support, help desk, and reinforcement for their IT staff that couldn’t scale to the needs. TeamLogic was set up for remote support as a partner, allowing the company to better equip itself to handle the challenges.
Partners will indeed reap the benefits of supporting and managing a distributed workforce with needs around network, connectivity, productivity software, business continuity, and a slew of other services that are moving out of a centralized office and into homes.
“WFH is here to stay, we see many businesses downsizing their physical office space and leveraging communications and collaboration technology to hire out of state or country,” adds Shapero. “Of course, this all creates additional opportunities for MSPs. What’s more, our offices take advantage of hiring beyond the limitations of geography, giving us the advantage to get the best talent regardless of location.”
Moving forward, parity will also play a role in the continuation of the dispersed workforce. According to IDC’s Future of Work report, by 2023, 75% of the Global 2000 will commit to providing technical parity. This commitment means keeping a closer eye on data transmission and ensuring it is received the same way it was transmitted. So, in this instance, it will require that all workers have secure access to the resources necessary to do their jobs, regardless of their preferred device or location (local, remote, in the field, or a hybrid).
As partners’ service geographies move from local markets outward, vendors must know where their partners are hunting. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – it is more critical than ever to break down the silos of information between vendors and partners. Both sides must have visibility into the data. Otherwise, partners will be frustrated, and end customers won’t be well served. Transparency, agility, and a shared repository of data and metrics are 100% necessary for partner success in all capacities.
- The remote working culture has drastically changed the geographies many partners work within. It’s important to implement planning tools and resources for everyone beginning their partner programs.
- Security and support are vital tools. A platform that supports customers with portal set-up and integrations, ongoing training, and consulting specific to their industry and location will bridge gaps caused by geography.
- Collaboration tools can help those seeking guidance or resources for channel partner strategies no matter their location.
- The Partner Channel Podcast Episode #32 | How to Enhance Your 2022 MSP Partnerships - February 7, 2022
- The Channel Business Case for DEI - January 25, 2022
- The Great Covid Migration and Changing Customer Geographies - November 18, 2021