Australian resellers are remaining cautious when it comes to relying on analyst research for accurate predictions concerning the IT industry.
That is probably just as well, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' executive director of its Global Technology Centre, Paul Turner. Speaking at IDC's Asia/Pacific IT Forum last month, he warned that technology forecasting is clouded by a number of built-in biases. For example, he said many users of forecast numbers need them to justify business funding plans. As a result "big numbers sell", Turner said.
Resellers who spoke to ARN recently said they believed an overall indication of the channel's behaviour is possible. However, once the analyst suggestions move away from the realms of the macro and move into more specific levels, resellers claim that the chance for error is much higher.
Confirming the believers
Praxa's marketing director Brian Walsh believes that an understanding of the market is essential to any reseller. Yet he believes in using analyst predictions only to confirm what the company already believes.
"We spend time looking at trends ourselves, we have a good feel for what is happening by keeping an eye on US and local markets. Analysts confirm rather than set directions."
Kasys' general manager Gayle Leuenberger agrees that self-analysis is necessary but tends to recognise groups such as Gartner as taking a more scientific and thus factual approach to gathering and interpreting information. "Gartner's research is not gut instinct or sensationalism like some magazines'."
Sentor's general manager Martin Fisk believes that analysts are "as good as they possibly can be with IT being such a crazy place".
He said the organisation looks carefully at what groups such as Gartner and IDC are saying, as well as performing its own research.
This approach allows resellers to take a "considered gamble" with as much information as possible, he said, using the research companies as "risk assessment managers" rather than sources of infallible information.
Walsh said he has a "what's hot and what's not" attitude to analyst findings, believing that they determine present tendencies rather than future directions.
"We live and breathe our own markets," Walsh said.
"But for new markets we want to enter, they provide great information."