Channel Forums Forget the recession - the reseller channel is in rude heath and there are a raft of biz opportunities coming into sharp focus, according to the chief at bean counter Canalys.
At Canalys' Channel Forum 2012, CEO Steve Brazier said times were tough in the first half of this year, but distributors and the top 12 vendors - extracting Apple from the equation - were particularly feeling the squeeze.
"In the first half of the year the titans grew ten per cent worldwide but Q2 was the most disappointing quarter since 2008," he said, adding the Canalys is forecasting single digit growth in Q3.
Remove Apple from the titan index and the top eleven vendors grew six per cent.
As for distributors, "we are calling [their] performance flat, they haven't managed to grow. Apple is not a distribution friendly company," Brazier said.
This is why consolidation is picking up pace with Avnet swallowing Magirus, Tech Data consuming SDG and Brightstar, and Ingram Micro snapping up Brightpoint.
"This is the year of distributor consolidation," he claimed, and this is good news for the channel, creating fewer financially stable wholesale giants.
As for the general reseller channel, Brazier estimated market growth of ten per cent "as a group" in H1.
"Channel partners are doing a good job of transitioning to software and services, that is where the growth is coming from".
This is in spite of biting economic conditions that are baffling "politicians and bankers". The likelihood of an economic collapse has dissipated but resellers should "continue to plan cautiously" said Canalys CEO.
But resellers in business planning mode should grasp the nettle and jump into the world of enterprises apps by recruiting developers to build them - "that is the number one priority".
"[We] recommend that resellers go to services but be careful, the world of services used to be about getting highly skilled people [to go to customer sites] but we are now seeing services go to the web and apps, so apps are replacing people," said Brazier.
Apps were springing up in myriad industries including taxi firms, fast food outlets and healthcare, the market watcher pointed out.
The proliferation of intelligent devices is creating a headache for the average IT manager and a not insignificant security challenges, said Brazier, and this is where the channel can help.
"Do a security audit, find out how many devices are being used and are on the network - most organisations don't know," he said.
The cloud market, despite the best efforts of marketeers to hype its importance, "continues to disappoint in revenues and profits," said Brazier.
He said that like hiring a car the cloud can be an expensive option over a prolonged period of time, and makes no sense in instances where end-user organisations have applications running well internally.
"[Cloud] works if [customers] are doing something new, it makes sense if they've got applications or processes outsourced already and if something is wrong inside your organisation," said Brazier.
This was the world of the channel according to Brazier. ®