Channel players need to get serious about reshaping their business models to ensure maximum agility when grabbing opportunity in the tough 2012 market.
That was the message emerging from the Distree EMEA conference, taking place this week in Monte Carlo.
Eszter Morvay, research analyst for the EMEA personal computing market at IDC, warned delegates that the channel must step up to the challenge represented by the growing diversification of both product and user requirements across the PC market, which includes desktops, notebooks and netbooks, but not tablets, seen through 2011.
The trend of diversification and resulting fragmentation of the PC market is expected to continue and even accelerate through 2012 and beyond, she said.
Jeremy Davies, chief executive of research house Context, highlighted the growth opportunity in tablet sales. Whether you choose to segment EMEA by country, sector or vendor, you can see certain opportunities, trends and challenges, he said. Context reviewed and analysed some $175bn (£110bn) worth of kit going through EMEA distribution in 2011.
It found that tablets were one of the fastest-growing product categories, and Context predicts that trend will continue into 2012 and probably beyond.
Peter O'Neill, vice president and principal analyst focusing on technology marketing professionals at Forrester Research, told ChannelWeb that the times have changed. Many channel partners have so far given little more than lip service to the well-worn call for resellers to become "solution providers" rather than box shifters, he suggested.
He warned that resellers and distributors need to start taking Apple more seriously in the business tech market.
"Apple is finally making some very strong inroads into the business space. Apple has eight per cent market share, including iPads and Macbooks, and that share will be going up to 15 per cent in 2013," said O'Neill. "And it has been doing a lot of strong work in the channel to recruit Microsoft partners – they realise their partners need to know about enterprise requirements, integration with Outlook, Lotus Notes, networking, security and so on, and the Microsoft consultants are probably the best at that."
For the full Distree write-up, see CRN 20 February issue.
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