UK mid-market firms are aiming to get closer to the channel, according to the results of IBM's latest survey.
The vendor's report Inside the Mid-Market: A 2011 Perspective was carried out by independent researcher KS&R, which questioned 2,000 mid-sized firms across 20 countries, including the UK.
Respondents said that they would be investing in a range of technologies, including cloud computing, analytics and mobility.
Breaking down the results, 62 per cent of the UK respondents expect IT budgets to increase over the next 18 months, compared with 11 per cent in the 2009 survey.
Seventy-four per cent of respondents also plan to pursue a consultative relationship with their IT provider.
Lubomir Cheytanov, mid-market business leader at IBM UK & Ireland, said: "The survey shows medium-sized firms have a new set of opportunities to advance their role as engines of economic growth. Eighteen months ago, most were focused on reducing costs. Today, the conversation is about expanding their business and connecting with customers," he said.
"We are seeing a new type of channel emerging as a result of the cloud: partners are moving into a cloud adviser/builder/operator role, which requires a consultative approach," he added.
Andy Rigby, managing director of IBM partner Virtustream, said close customer relationships work best.
"Our model is all about the consultative approach. Cloud computing delivers many tangible benefits including eliminating initial capital expenses for IT systems, increasing CPU efficiency and reducing energy consumption," he said.
"We have seen an increase in interest from mid-sized companies looking for trusted technology partners that can address many of the obstacles of cloud computing adoption."
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