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Channel Futures' 2023 TA (Agent) Outlook: MDF Gets a Shake-Up

Vendors are rethinking their MDF in the face of partner consolidation and the recession. And there's more.

James Anderson

December 28, 2022

9 Slides

The relationship between technology advisor (agent) firms, technology service distributors and suppliers is changing as the channel moves into 2023.

What an exciting time it is to be running an agency. The technology advisor/broker model, in which partners source technology services for their customers and earn monthly recurring commissions, has proven itself a rewarding venture for entrepreneurs. But the best partners know how to adapt to change, and change is most certainly afoot.

We’ll name the elephant in the room: a recession, whose very mention is causing the world’s largest tech companies to trim their workforces in anticipation of a worst-case scenario.

“I expect more layoffs, stock market volatility, and interest rate increases,” said Michael Agri, president at North Atlantic Consultants. “Some providers may not survive, and M&A activity could increase.”

Channel Impact

And these harsh economic conditions are trickling down into the enterprise IT and telecom world, with many partners anticipating vendors to change their policies around commissions and market development funds (MDF). Vendors and tech services distributors (TSDs) are facing more pressure from partners to add value to partners, and the reverse is true.

For Agri and many of his partner peers, there’s hope for agents.

“Technology advisors are very lucky because recessions bring opportunities to increase efficiencies and reduce costs,” he said.

At the same time, partners need to work hard to keep up with this digital age. Ryan Rowland, partner at Adaptiv Advisors, pointed to the maturation and ubiquity of A.I.

“The A.I. powered interaction, writing, imaging and video tools that are widely available today, for free, are the stuff of sci-fi, “Rowland told Channel Futures. “… You’re seeing it in your LinkedIn feed, in art, in politics, in nearly all aspects of life. I believe we are in the midst of the next industrial revolution, and we’re all going to have to do some learning, unlearning and relearning over the next couple of decades to stay relevant.”

Among the partners and individuals from vendors and TSDs sharing their predictions for 2023 were:

Scroll through the nine slides above to see the outlook on the upcoming year for the technology advisor channel.

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Adaptiv Advisors’ Ryan Rowland

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Rise Technology’s Eric Ludwig

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ATC’s David Goodwin

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Aryaka’s Nicole Steele

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ATA Trusted Advisors’ Idris Odutoye

 

 

 

 

 

 

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North Atlantic Consultants’ Michael Agri

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Avant Communications’ Drew Lydecker

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Kairos Data Communications’ MaryTom Hofer

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Eclipse Telecom’s Dave Dyson

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AT&T’s Chris Jones

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Okta’s Bill Hustad

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Telarus’ Adam Edwards

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Telarus’ Dan Pirigy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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