Nearly half (49%) of European resellers are preparing for a significant cloud push in the coming year, to meet rising customer demands for digital transformation, according to new data from Context.

A preview of Context’s upcoming ChannelWatch survey found that 73% of resellers are seeing customers accelerate the rate of digital transformation due to the pandemic, and more than half (51%) say the cloud is driving this surge.

The benefits of scalability, remote management, integrated security and remote delivery of services are proving to be major advantages as the new era of the hybrid workplace emerges from the shadow of Covid-19.

Around half of the 6 500 resellers Context spoke to in order to compile the report are already selling cloud products and services. The majority (53%) are selling between one and three offerings, with 29,5% selling four to 10 and 17% selling more than 10 services.

Further data reveals the maturity of the market. There’s around a 50-50 split between those who manually and automatically provision their cloud offerings.

According to Chris Vallenduuk, cloud specialist at Context, those using automated provisioning enabled by distributor marketplaces have a far more scalable workflow which typically supports 5+ products aimed at industry verticals.

Those on manual provisioning are more likely to be taking advantage of opportunistic sales from “hero” products like Microsoft 365, which offer no cross-selling opportunities and only razor-thin margins.

Separate data reveals that most (53%) resellers currently rely opportunistically on inbound sales, rather than cross-selling (38%), or driving digital (29%) and traditional (16%) outbound marketing. Those in the latter groups are likely to be more advanced in their cloud offerings.

“We know that around 50% resellers acknowledge that the cloud is a vital area to invest in. But now it’s time for them to expand their portfolios and move to more active marketing techniques and integration of products,” says Vallenduuk. “After all, this is where the real profits lie and where most distributors are very well positioned to deliver excellent value for the channel.”