Channel predictions for 2009

Journalists and analysts are not the only people with opinions about what may happen in 2009. CDN asked the channel for their predictions for this year.

As you will read some made bold predictions, while others had either suggestions or advice. Here is what some said:

The mini is in on mobility

New small-form netbooks such as the HP Mini or Acer’s Aspire One netbook will be widely received by the business traveler. The new form factor will have plenty of room for expansion as new features and value options hit the market. These would include WiFi capabilities and larger screen sizes of 10.2 versus 8.9 inches.

For the mobile worker, new tools and accessories will continue to make life on the road a more convenient and productive journey, including GPS systems such as the TomTom One 130 or the Garmin Nuvi 255W; and multimedia smart phones and Internet tablets such as the Nokia N810, which are still creating a buzz in the market.

Greg Tobin, president

D&H Canada, Mississauga, Ont.

Focus on the core

My prediction for 2009 – focus on core competencies. I think you will see most companies shy away from expansion strategies into new areas, and they will go back to focusing on their core business. I believe most of the Telco’s will get out of security.

Michael Brameld

The Herjavec Group, Toronto

Invest in yourself during the downturn

I predict that the current economic slow down and the accompanying negative press will have a very negative impact on the technology industry. Our job in the coming year will be very difficult even if there is a proven ROI, as many will be slow to take advantage. Capital will be at a premium and those who have it will want to hang on to it. The uncertainty in the market place will make most very hesitant to spend any money if they don’t have to.

Being very focused and committed to the ROI of specialized solutions will be a solution provider’s only hope. I see it as a year the generalist will fall farther behind. Specialized niche players will find it difficult as the belts tighten.

Price leaders will find it tougher as margins get a further squeeze and they chase fewer dollars.I see two options for solution providers that have cash.

One, save your cash and ride the storm. Those with money should be able to out last those that don’t.

Taking no action will be the norm for many businesses this year so why buck the trend.

Two, use this downturn in the economy to invest in your business.

There will be many deals and opportunities to beef up your portfolio with people, solutions and processes. This option is more risky as the ROI will be at least one year out, if at all. But those that do will be much stronger as the economy improves.

The only real opportunity I see is as the weak fall, the strong will pick up new business.

Don Conaby, president

Conpute, Oshawa, Ont.

Smart, mature companies that have invested significantly in people, process, and technology over the past few years will excel in the current market conditions. Companies that have not been able to establish technology as a strategic element of their businesses will struggle and have a difficult time reacting quickly to tightening markets in order to avoid being seriously affected.

Steven Fitzgerald, president

Habañero Consulting Group, Vancouver

Microsoft, the cloud, open-source and more

Microsoft’s new client OS, target=”_blank”>Windows 7, will generate much interest and hype, though it will be adopted slowly in the business sector.

Widespread adoption of technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization will continue to grow faster throughout 2009, due in large part to a combination of the current economic/credit concerns, carbon footprint reduction or green computing initiatives, and the “keeping up with the Joneses” effect as larger well-known companies pave the way for smaller organizations to feel comfortable doing the same.

Open-source solutions will fail to make as big an impact on the mainstream as previously expected. Companies “selling” the open-source concept continue to package their services and maintenance/subscriptions with the “free” software, nullifying much of the financial benefits inherent to open-source. Companies are often left to either develop their own product enhancements or rely on the open-source community to provide them in due time, and in these economic times many IT departments simply don’t have the programming resources to do so.

The tech channel members such as Ingram Micro, Tech Data, etc. will continue to try to bolster their bottom lines by aggressively pursuing service-based business lines, to some degree biting the hands that feed them as they hurt the very IT VAR companies that have enabled their existence to date.

The impact of the many start-ups and entrepreneurial endeavours rampant in Waterloo region in Southwestern Ontario is felt around the world, seeing a huge reversal of the brain-drain that saw so much tech talent flock to Silicon Valley in the past.

The tech industry will lead the way back to a stronger economy, both in the U.S. and Canada, fostering confidence and enabling the automotive and real estate markets to rebound to a higher degree then they would otherwise have been able to in 2009.

Douglas W. Grosfield, president

Xylotek Solutions Inc., Kitchener, Ont.

Convergence brings margins

“2009 will be the year that the channel drives cloud computing, services, and hardware sales into convergence. This will bring high margins back to the channel in a way that we have not seen for many years.”

Tom Ward, vice-president, marketing and product management

No Panic Computing, Markham, Ont.

Partner with other solution providers

Know your strengths and partner to shore up weaknesses. Partnering with other solution providers who can help provide complementary skill sets will solve the customer’s needs and open the door to expanding sales. By understanding the customer’s needs and leveraging these partnerships, solution providers will be more competitive in the marketplace and build confidence with their customers.

Fred Patterson, director of enterprise channels

Symantec Canada, Toronto

Cabling is not up-to-date

As more companies start to deploy 1Gb, 10Gb Ethernet and VOIP technologies, they will find that their existing network infrastructure of cabling and electrical is not adequate to support these new technologies.

Alexander Smith, president

Connectivitywerx, Markham, Ont.

Virtualization has some SaaS

Emerging offerings such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) will continue to gain traction because its inherent business model brings flexibility to organizations who have a specific application or IT management need, while wresting with the complexity and cost to address that need. Saas alllows organizations to charge the software cost to its operating expenditure (OpEx) rather than its capital expenditure (CapEx).

And, Virtualization is growing both in awareness and deployment. But the real challenge will be getting a handle on the management of virtualization where its explosive growth over the next few years will be akin to the proliferation of weeds in the IT and data centre garden. Managing that well will be critical.

Jimmy Fulton, vice president and country manager

CA Canada, Mississauga, Ont.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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