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State of play: Concern colours slow start

Brian Karlovsky | March 25, 2014
It isn't easy out there. Over the past quarter, some resellers have hit the wall and consolidation is rife at all levels of the channel, according to key industry players who also expect to see more big deals like the Dicker Data takeover of Express Data and a further squeezing of margins, the latter contributing to some poor results for some tier-one resellers.

Kazacos pointed to the loss of software developer Atlassian to the UK and the NBN construction slowdown as examples of lost opportunity for Australia.

"In reality if all that money heaped into manufacturing was put into the technology space we would not have a problem," he said. "But I can't see that on either the Liberal party or the Labor party agendas." Channel Dynamics director, Cam Wayland, said resellers needed to scrap the jargon and look for a return-on-investment.

"It is not sexy stuff, but having a conversation with your client will flesh out where the weaknesses [security] are and customer satisfaction is what it's really all about. Technology is an enabler of business outcomes, so how can they use technology to get better business outcomes for their clients."

Brennan IT managing director, Dave Stevens, said the year had begun slowly, but March was looking like a "cracker". "We had a record Q2, which was a great result," he said. "The first half of Q3 is always tough, March to June for us is always massive and we're looking for more record revenue and sales months".

Stevens said products which allow clients to rationalise costs through efficient use of capital or productivity gains would be hot over the next six months as the market remained conservative. "The big shocks that have been factored in to the market haven't materialised and if the ASX is anything to go by we are seeing new all-time highs in the market," he said.

Driving sales
Intel A/NZ channel manager, V.R. Rajkumar, said the 2014 calendar year would be a strong year overall for the channel, with the Next Unit of Computing [a small form factor PC], Galileo and SSD storage playing a key role in driving sales for channel partners.

"Intel is broadening its SSD offering and the channel has key role in addressing this space," he said. "I am also seeing a growth in the Next Unit of Computing and, similarly, we are seeing significant growth of tablet take up in the channel. With our channel access program and Android-based original device manufacturer [ODM], this gives a great opportunity for channel to play a bigger role."

Infoready managing director, Tristan Sternson, said the start of the year had been mediocre, but his company had exceeded expections due to 2013 projects spilling over into the new year.

He said analytics and marketing would cross over to drive demand from businesses who want to use their data. However, he described the economic outlook as uncertain and bemoaned further job cuts and movement of companies off shore."


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