The global IT market seems healthy judging by a raft of recently released quarterly figures.
It looks like the PC buying cycle is back in full swing, large corporates have more money to spend and new or maturing technologies present fresh money-making opportunities for vendors.
Vendors won't say much, if anything, about the local scene, but market analysts at IDC and various distributors have reported that the Australian market is at its best in several years.
Resellers are increasing orders as far as their credit limits allow, some can't get enough shipments of certain items, and large corporates are starting to look at infrastructure-wide projects again after years of doing them piece-by-piece.
Nationally, Australia's IT market is worth $23 billion overall, according to IDC, with software services growing fastest.
But hardware is growing too, with desktop shipments up 14 per cent in 2003 and notebook shipments up 35 per cent, giving 18 per cent growth overall.
SME vertical director for IDC, Kourosh Ghassemi, said local growth was being fuelled by a strong Australian economy driven by lower interest rates. A strong dollar also meant imports were cheaper. An increasingly competitive environment was also a factor, he said.
Consequently, SME demand was very strong, Ghassemi said, but at the top end of town, boards still needed some convincing before embarking on major projects.
Express Data marketing director, Peter Masters, said big business was now looking at entire networks again, focusing on the whole infrastructure, though they had yet to dig deep into their pockets.
Nonetheless, optimism is buoyant, at its highest level for several years, though this varied from vendor to vendor and from technology to technology, Masters said. With major vendor partners including IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, Microsoft, Nortel and Nokia, the distributor had enjoyed a "substantial rise in revenue".
Masters said major vendors were doing very well and currently had a healthy outlook. Large networking vendors, he said, had seen significant demand from big enterprise.
Security was also very strong, with firms increasingly wanting services in addition to the boxes. Consequently, Express Data was offering more of these solutions as well as moving into IP telephony and security.
"We are also pushing into annuity, working with resellers to convert customers to the concept of an annualised income," Masters said. For more details on this story, see next week's ARN.