CCC RECAP: The Channelnomics Annual Year-in-Review

Channelnomics recaps the trends and developments that made 2022 a remarkable year.

By T.C. Doyle

The year 2022 began with hope and promise but didn’t end that way. Or did it?

The truth is, there are so many uncertainties regarding the global economy, the tech industry, and the channel that we enter 2023 with many questions. Here’s our take on the year that was and a glimpse into some of the things we have on our mind for 2023.

Heading into 2022, global GDP growth was strong. The year 2021 finished with 6.1% growth, which was a welcome change from the -3.1% retraction witnessed in 2020.

While there were concerns about a new Omicron variant of COVID-19, manufacturing was expanding, and trade levels were climbing. Then Russia invaded Ukraine, sending everything into doubt. Since then, the economy has sustained one body blow after another. Recall:

  • Inflation reached its highest point in 40 years in October.
  • The Federal Reserve raised interest rates seven times in 2022. (Rates were near zero in early 2022; now they’re at 4.5%.)
  • Supply chain woes dogged tech companies throughout the year. (In the first quarter of 2022, Apple saw a 26% quarter-over-quarter drop in product sales thanks to component shortages.)
  • The stock market teetered all year long. (The Dow closed on Jan. 4, 2022, at 36,799. On Dec. 20, it traded at 32,863.)
  • Crypto has lost two-thirds of its value — and more in notable instances.
  • Layoffs have become commonplace at social media companies and more common in other tech sectors.

Our focus throughout the year was on client priorities, the ongoing war in Ukraine and its adverse effects on the global economy, and new trends in the technology channel. Here’s a recap of some of the things we covered during our monthly Brainstorm Community Calls.

January: We examined omnichannel strategies and how they impacted partner go-to-market strategies (a topic we’ll also keep an eye on in 2023).

February: We turned our attention to the tech industry’s growing interest in going green. We probed why a feel-good initiative became a business priority and offered some insights on how the channel can operate in a more environmentally sustainable manner.

March: The call focused mostly on examining the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and big tech’s response. We noted the significant number of companies that pulled out of Russia and offered perspective on how tech would fare amid the catastrophe.

April: We presented findings from our 2022 Channel Chief Outlook report. One was that more than two-thirds of channel chiefs expected their programs to generate growth this year — more or less unchanged year-over-year but down significantly from the typically optimistic forecasts of pre-pandemic years.

May: We turned our attention to long-tail partners and posed the question of whether they’re a potential sales bonanza or an indulgent fantasy. Our ultimate conclusion is that they can contribute modestly to channel sales, but most vendors are better off putting their focus on higher-performing partners.

June: For the mid-year call, we took a look at the growing importance of and reliance on complex channel automation tech stacks. We reviewed what’s working and what isn’t.

July: We talked about Technology Services Brokerages (TSBs) and why they’ve taken center stage in the channel. Are they a fit for most vendors? They are for a growing number of cloud companies.

August: With all eyes on a clearly deteriorating tech economy, we focused the conversation on our newly published Channelnomics Recession Survival Guide, which offers insights and practical guidance on how vendors can leverage their indirect routes to market to counteract the impact of an economic downturn. (If you haven’t downloaded your free copy yet, you can do so now by clicking here.)

September: We addressed a basic question we get all the time: Which products and services sell best through the channel? Our response: those that fit into the Channelnomics Goldilocks Zone.

October: This call was devoted to taking a long look at back-end incentives and understanding how to put them to work for you.

November: We took a deep dive into selling digital services. Is sell-to or sell-thru a better fit for your business in 2023?

December: Again, our latest call was a 2022 year-in-review of tech, economic, and business trends.

Some of the other topics we examined this year:

  • Transforming one’s channel from a product-based model to a subscription-led one
  • Partner recruitment: why vendors always believe they need more
  • Mitigating risk when disenfranchising partners
  • Enabling MSPs for success
  • The evolving art of channel marketing

In 2022, we also published three editions of Channelnomics Quarterly magazine. (If you haven’t seen the latest edition of CQ, which features a look at what vendors don’t understand about channel partners, get your copy here.)

As we head into 2023, you can bet that we’ll offer our perspectives on channel ecosystems, next-generation business models, new partner types, and more. We’ll also serve up new research, podcasts, videos, and a few special surprises.

From all of us at Channelnomics, we’d like to say thank you for all your support, interest, and engagement, which helped to keep us focused in what we can all probably agree was one of the more remarkable years in recent history. From all our families to yours, have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable holiday season.

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