A new study from analysts Canalys suggests that the EMEA reseller channel remains strong, despite a poor performance in the overall IT sector, and adds that the hype surrounding the cloud is beginning to fade. Guy Daniels reports
Canalys has revealed the findings from its recent study, which suggests that despite the IT industry’s worst performance in three years, the EMEA IT reseller channel performed above expectations in the first half of 2012. Many channel partners registered around 10 per cent growth, as they moved their businesses towards a more software and services-led model. The overall EMEA IT industry grew only 6 per cent during this period, mainly thanks to Apple, which accounted for half of that increase. Consequently, IT distributors recorded zero growth.
Canalys says the industry must capitalize on the convergence of mobility, wireless, business analytics and the cloud as the principal path toward future IT channel profit.
Steve Brazier, CEO of Canalys, believes the single largest growth opportunity for channel partners in the coming months will be Apps, which is estimated to become an $18 billion sector by the end of 2012:
“The last decade was about people-driven services, such as call centres. Now, apps are replacing people to give the end user a do-it-yourself solution to everything from booking a taxi to IT security. We recommend that channel partners recruit developers now to ensure that they can take full advantage of this trend.”
Canalys also signalled the transition to wireless as the primary business network as another opportunity for channel partners. With the roll-out of 802.11AC, offering gigabyte-level connections, the LAN will be relegated to supporting no more than IP telephony in many offices in the future. Channel partners providing wireless networking services will not only remain vital but also have the potential to expand their businesses by offering related solutions, such as security.
Brazier also says that whilst it is still a source of potential channel profit, the hype around cloud computing has subsided, and will continue to do so:
“People now recognize that the cloud may be the right move for applications that target consumers, are new, or manage traffic or internal service issues, for example. But it makes no sense to take IT that already works and move it into the cloud, just for the sake of it.”
He says that Microsoft readjusted to this new cloud reality after experiencing poor sales of Office 365. The new version of its productivity suite now allows a hybrid approach, with the primary tool now focusing on office apps run locally on the PC, while the cloud-based version targets secondary purposes, where collaboration is required:
“The old regime of IT heavyweights has become less relevant in today’s IT channel. We no longer live in a Microsoft-driven industry, with the vendor’s share falling to just 30 per cent of all intelligent devices – smartphones and PCs – worldwide in 2012. We see those more nimble players – both vendors and channel partners – capable of embracing the concept of the ‘smarter mobile enterprise,’ as the true engine of IT industry growth in the years to come.”
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