'Short-term pain for long-term gain' is the bargain many of the firms featured in CRN's inaugural Business Applications Reseller Report struck in their last financial years.
This study - the last of five sector-specific reports from CRN Essential in 2018 - profiles 30 boutique VARs and consultancies with a laser focus on business software including ERP, CRM, business intelligence and CAD.
Together they employ nearly 5,000 staff.
CRN Essential subscribers can view the full report here.
For many of them, 2017 was a year of transition as the impact of shifting more business to cloud left a short-term hole in their accounts.
Collectively, their revenues rose by a modest six per cent to £676m, while average operating profit margins across the group lurched downwards - from 4.1 to 3.7 per cent.
Despite this, some are among the most profitable in the entire Top 250 UK VARs, with double-digit margins a common sight.
Unlike the wider Top 250, the 30 firms profiled here often practise vendor monogamy, with many focused solely on a single brand such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics or Autodesk.
Read the report to discover:
- The identity of the UK's top 30 boutique business application-focused VARs and consultancies by revenue on our radar
- How they performed in their last financial years
- What key trends are affecting their business
- Why so many are focused on a single vendor
- How their profit margins compare with the wider Top 250 UK VARs and other specialist VARs
The report also features in-depth interviews with two CEOs in the sector, including Stuart Fenton, CEO of Microsoft Dynamics partner QuantIQ. He talked about the "extraordinary depth" of skills partners need to keep pace with the development of Microsoft's Dynamics 365 product.
"Partners with fewer than 100 experienced staff will struggle to remain on top of the new innovations while providing professional services and ongoing managed services to the client," he said.
"QuantIQ now has 180 staff including our offshore development team and therefore we are the right size to support mid-sized to large clients. However, we need to continue growth during 2018 to get over 200 heads just to service the business that we have won. I certainly see us reaching 350 heads in the near future."
Ian Thomason, chief executive of Oracle partner Explorer UK, meanwhile, chatted about how closely his firm's strategy mirrors that of Oracle's.
"Oracle is going through a difficult period of change at the moment and trying to convert every customer on-premise to the Oracle Cloud. We have never taken this stance and do not believe it is the correct approach," he said.
Other reports available from CRN Essential this year:
MSP Trends Report 2018
An overview of how end users' appetite for outsourced and managed services is changing
Which IT functions to keep in-house, and which to hive off to a third party, is one of the eternal questions that has vexed IT decision makers through the years. Based on the views of IT decision makers at more than 250 UK end users, this report aims to provide a snapshot of how end users' attitudes to that equation are changing and serves as an authoritative guide for any vendor or channel firm targeting managed services expansion.
Top 250 UK VARs
This exclusive report profiles every one of the top 250 UK resellers on CRN's radar, from #1 outfit Computacenter to #250 Freestyle IT
Having first launched Top VARs - CRN's rundown of the UK's top 100 resellers, MSPs and consultancies - in 2011, this year we have gone a step further, profiling every single reseller in the top 250 firms on our radar.
Profiles include a summary of each reseller's focus and recent financial performance, as well as revenue, profit and profit margin figures.
Comms Reseller Report
An overview of the UK's top 35 comms resellers by revenue and the trends affecting their businesses
Avaya's collapse into Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the start of 2017 underlines the struggles the legacy comms space has been undergoing.
And yet the 35 largest comms resellers on our radar grew revenues by a collective nearly 12 per cent in their latest financial years.
Their secret has been reinvention and acquisitive growth, with the comms channel providing the setting for a frenzy of M&A activity in recent times. This report ranks the 35 largest specialist comms VARs on CRN's radar by revenue and examines the trends affecting their businesses.
Cybersecurity Provider Report
The trends affecting the sizzling-hot UK cybersecurity channel, and an overview of its top protagonists
Boutique cybersecurity providers that specialise solely in protecting their customers against the latest threats have never been in greater demand.
Overwhelmed by the increasing complexity of the threat landscape and cyberskills shortage, CIOs and CISOs are more than ever turning to the expertise offered by specialists in the channel.
Our inaugural Cybersecurity Provider Report shows that the top 13 players in this space grew collective revenues by 11 per cent to ￡525m in their most recent annual result and takes a deep dive into all the trends reshaping this high-growth - but also highly competitive - market.
Print Provider Report
A rundown of the UK's top 20 print providers and overview of the big trends shaking up the sector
If the print market is in the doldrums, no one told the 20 specialist B2B print providers featured in CRN's inaugural Print Provider Report, who raked in collective revenues of ￡675m in their latest financial years.
This report profiles the UK's top boutique resellers of print, supplies and office equipment, and examines the key trends that will affect their businesses over the coming years, including how they are reacting to the rise of managed print and advent of the paperless office.
Audiovisual Provider Report
A look at the UK's top 20 audiovisual providers and the trends shaping their businesses
Audiovisual has always been IT's awkward step-sibling, with numerous tech resellers trying - and failing - to crack the adjacent world of videowalls, projectors and digital signage.
This report profiles the cast of specialist providers dominating this space, from AVMI and ProAV to Kinly and Electrosonic, and also examines the trends affecting, and growth opportunities in, this dynamic - if somewhat awkward - space.
2018 Staff and Salaries Study
A look at what is happening to headcount and pay across the UK's top 250 resellers. How do you, or your partners, measure up?
How many people work for the UK's top resellers, and how much do they get paid?
These are two of the key questions CRN has sought to answer in its inaugural Staff and Salaries study, which draws on publicly available data contained in the most recent annual accounts of the UK's top 250 resellers to build a picture of staff and salaries trends in the channel.
Get all the monthly and quarterly news from vendors, distributors and resellers plus research updates and analysis on the issues affecting the channel.
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