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The path to diversity and inclusion in the channel

There are polarized opinions on diversity and inclusion among channel partners

In Market

Written by : Rachel Lashford

Posted on 17/08/2021

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is not a new topic in the IT industry. Numerous studies point to the strong business case for diversity. But progress toward redressing gender imbalance and growing workplace diversity is slow. Without organization-wide commitment, any efforts are likely to have minimal impact. Many IT vendors have had D&I initiatives in place for several years, with accountability for programs and goals often with D&I-focused senior roles (Chief Diversity Officers, D&I Directors, Senior Managers, etc). After the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and Me Too movement, and with more awareness of LGBTQ+ rights, many tech companies around the world are re-focusing their commitments – both to their own workforces and to their customers.

In light of this, Canalys took a snapshot of IT channel viewpoints in a couple of our Candefero channel community quick polls. The results represent the views of channel companies around the world, both big and small.

We found that almost a quarter of channel partners polled said they are “rigorous in measuring” their organizations’ diversity, with an additional 19% saying they collect “some info” on this. This is a key step on the path to making changes as organizations start to track, set goals and analyze the results. Still, the results were polarized, with nearly 40% of respondents indicating that there isn’t a transparent procedure in place to “collect, count and compare” as a starting point for change. This includes about 25% of partners that said that this isn’t even a priority for their businesses.

We also checked how important it is for channel partners to have senior positions focused on D&I. Having buy-in from leaders to help figure out changing culture and what works is another key step. I was shocked at the results – 16% believe that having senior positions focused on D&I is a “waste of time and resources”. These are disappointing results given the call for industrywide change. With a lack of organizational focus on D&I, companies may run the risk of finding it tougher to attract and retain top talent, or to represent their customers effectively, or to bring diversity of thought to innovation. Like the previous question, the responses from partners were polarized, with 45% acknowledging D&I as a core part of senior managers’ roles or being a crucial role in itself.

I’ll be running an “Expert Hub” on diversity at the Canalys Forums, where we can continue this discussion and talk more about inspiring change and taking action in our industry. This virtual advisory workshop will be an opportunity to engage and learn for channel partners, distributors and vendors. Channel partners can join the event here or get in touch if you’d like to participate in the hub.

Channel partners can also get a detailed, personalized and free-of charge report which helps them to assess all aspects of their Environmental, Social and Governance goals via our new Sustainability Assessment tool.

About Candefero quick polls

Surveys are conducted regularly via Candefero, the online channel partner community created and run by Canalys. Membership of Candefero is limited to authorized partners and is strictly controlled by Canalys. Candefero has thousands of members worldwide, and includes resellers, systems integrators, service providers, distributors and retailers.


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