Here we are at the beginning of another New Year that will no doubt bring with it a whole host of fresh challenges and exciting opportunities. On behalf of all the team at ARN, I would like to start by wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2005.
So what can we expect? Well, ARN has high hopes for 2005 but, as always, there will undoubtedly be many winners and losers for us to tell you about before the year is out. Perhaps, more than ever before, the key to success is going to be working out what you are good at and making a strong play in that area rather than trying to be too many things for too many customers.
Nobody needs a crystal ball to work out that this is going to be a good year for mobility. Intel launched its new Sonoma mobile processor platform this week, largely as an attempt to sell mobile solutions in the consumer market, and we can expect to see a plethora of slimmer and sexier notebooks hitting the shelves as the year progresses.
This month's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas saw HP continue to make a big noise about pursuing digital lifestyle opportunities, while the next generation of televisions on display are more impressive (and expensive) than ever. Sony's decision to get out of plasma television production over the holidays suggests that might well be a technology on the wane.
Televisions might still be a little leftfield for many in the IT channel but that view will eventually become a thing of the past as the worlds of technology and consumer electronics continue to converge. One company that will look to tap into that trend is Digiland - a company that once harboured ambitions of being one of the top three distributors in Australia but has now emerged with a new niche play that will see it looking to specialise on the digital home market. It's going to be very interesting to see what progress it can make with Digiland Australia founder, Laurie Carmichael, back at the helm after a five-year hiatus.
The big news of the week saw new Ingram Micro Australia boss, Kerry Baillie, break the silence that has surrounded the biggest merger in the history of Australian IT distribution. He has a massive task ahead in melding those companies together but it must be a big relief to have formalised his senior executive team. They will be looking forward to putting it all behind them and getting on with the job of selling technology.
Baillie said the vendor community was keeping a watching brief on the progress of the merger and suggested Ingram now had a limited amount of time in which to prove that it can meet combined sales targets while retaining acceptable service levels. But the head of another major distributor in Australia predicted the boot might well be on the other foot these days.
After all, where else in Australia is a major vendor going to get the sort of volume that Ingram brings to the table? It will be fascinating to see where the balance of power sits once the dust has settled.