The $18bn (£11.2bn) apps market represents the single largest growth opportunity for the channel over the coming months – but hype around cloud is on the wane.
These were just two assertions made by Canalys today as its Channels Forum EMEA in Barcelona enters its final day.
The analyst said the EMEA IT channel had performed above expectations in the first half of 2012, with many partners enjoying about 10 per cent growth as they surfed the transition to more software- and services-led business models.
This is despite the overall EMEA IT industry growing just six per cent, with Apple accounting for half of the increase.
Canalys used the forum to highlight potential growth hotspots for resellers, dubbing apps – a sector it said will be worth $18bn this year – "the single largest growth opportunity for channel partners in the coming months".
Canalys chief executive Steve Brazier said: "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."
Meanwhile, the bring-your-own boom will make security another key growth area for partners, Canalys added.
"Remote workforces, new devices and consumer-driven user behavior increase the security challenge for any enterprise," said Canalys analyst Nushin Hernandez.
"As the world goes more mobile, the typical IT manager approach of saying "no" to employees using private devices for work and downloading their own menu of apps is quickly disappearing. IT managers who stand in the way of perceived innovation and productivity will not survive, whereas channel partners capable of tackling these new mobility-related security dilemmas as part of a comprehensive solution stand to gain."
Smart resellers will also tune into the opportunities in the wireless market as the rollout of 802.11AC relegates LAN to supporting no more than IP telephony in many offices, Canalys said.
Big data, big opportunity
And big data is more than just a buzzphrase, the analyst added, arguing that it represents an opportunity for the channel.
Resellers have a chance to sell the hardware and software infrastructure to examine the explosion of structured and unstructured data, Canalys said. The most astute will set themselves up as analytic service providers, collating sources of data, aggregating information from different companies and allowing everyone in the value chain to make better business decisions, it added.
But Canalys broke ranks from its fellow analysts by insisting that the hype surrounding cloud computing "has subsided, and will continue to do so".
Brazier used Microsoft's decision to embrace a hybrid approach for the new version of Office 365 in response as evidence that the industry's love affair with cloud has its limits.
"People now recognise that the cloud may be the right move for applications that target consumers, are new, or manage traffic or internal service issues, for example," he said.
"But it makes no sense to take IT that already works and move it into the cloud, just for the sake of it."
Infrastructure provider says international sales now make up 51 per cent of its revenue
Suzanne Chappell of TMS plans sailing venture after selling Oxfordshire-based TMS to acquisitive Chess
Withdrawal of credit insurance by some providers a 'reflection' of current challenge facing IT sector, according to MD Steve Soper
SMART's UK managing director joins Lenovo to boost SMB business