Three factors will drive IT industry growth – the enterprise going mobile, datacentre transformation and consumerisation of IT – all of which offer revenue potential for the channel.
These were the claims by Canalys chief executive Steve Brazier, speaking at Computer 2000’s annual Vendor Partner Summit in central London today.
As the distribution behemoth talked up growth across the board, and announced a sharpened focus on retail and public sector, Brazier painted a bleaker picture of the retail space, but said the industry as a whole had witnessed strong growth over the past year.
“The IT industry was really strong in 2011 despite all the doom and gloom in the national press. Revenue grew by 15 per cent in Q4, which is a phenomenal performance for any industry,” he said, adding strong performances from the likes of Apple, Google and Intel had been the main contributors.
If Apple were taken out of the equation it would leave the industry with five per cent growth, Brazier said, which demonstrated the power wielded by the iPad and iPhone vendor at present.
In terms of distribution, the industry has had a tougher time, due to economic problems across southern Europe, but overall the UK has been much healthier.
In total the distribution market saw -1 per cent negative growth across EMEA. Again Apple was picked out as a major contributing factor to this negative growth, because unlike Acer, Samsung and other vendors, it tends to sell a lot of its products directly to consumers.
Brazier painted a bleak picture of the traditional retail space, with the retailers such as Dixons closing down stores and online players such as Amazon and Dabs cleaning up.
But on a positive note, he said growth was coming from areas such as Infrastructure (which despite the cloud hype – is a ‘safe and secure’ business to be in for the next few years); security; private cloud and managed services.
Public cloud and SaaS have been ‘grossly overhyped’ he warned, predicting that many public cloud service providers will fail as they discover the demand isn’t there. Main challenges faced by the channel included: the economy, changing IT cconsumption, lack of working capital, a shortage of skills and increased competition, he said.
Brazier also said stalwart vendors such as Microsoft had seen its market share eaten away by rivals Google and Apple, with the software giant facing a challenge following the launch of its Windows 8 operating system.
“Windows 8 is an interesting and optimistic launch for the PC industry because it has a whole new interface,” Brazier said, “It has been well received by those in the know, but getting the message out is going to be a huge challenge.”
This is another area where the channel can capitalise on as it creates a massive service opportunity in 2013, educating those in the corporate world on the workings of the new OS.
In terms of software, the world is going mobile, he stressed. “We are heading into an app based world with a big shift in how it will work. There is an opportunity to write these apps and be at the forefront of development,” he said.
One of the biggest regrets Apple could have with its ‘Pad’ launch, he said, was the absence of an Ethernet port. Although the industry is going to see a massive shift towards wireless network investment, the bandwidth just isn’t there at the moment to support the data usage requirements.
“The latest iPad consumes four times the amount of data that the iPad 2 did,” he said. “Most operators don’t want to give unlimited data contracts, so the most precious resource in the IT industry is going to be wireless bandwidth. With Apple, it has increased the amount of data consumed, but the networks just aren’t there yet,” he said.
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