Industry remains wary as economic gloom lingers

Industry remains wary as economic gloom lingers

Australian channel representatives say they are bracing their businesses for more stormy weather as the global economic gloom settles in. But although turmoil in the US financial sector and fears of a recession continue, many are still reporting minimal impact on local customer spending.

“We are more conscious than we ever have been about chasing up clients and monitoring things regularly, but we haven’t seen any major casualties,” Total Computer Technology managing director, Robert Brown, said.

At a customer level, most resellers said transactional sales had slowed a little and project-based work was being analysed, but were adamant plans were being pushed back rather than cut.

“Customers are slowing down their decision-making processes and being more cautious,” Brown said. “Everybody is cautious but that doesn’t mean panic. I actually don’t mind a bit of a slowdown because it weeds out the bad businesses – good businesses will continue.”

Astron Technology sales and marketing manager, John Deacon, said it was trying to better gauge market trends in an effort to bypass any short-term issues and identify broader opportunities.

“The situation is forcing us to try and identify some trends, but it’s not really impacting yet. The thing is to navigate by doing some intelligent things with clients and developing broader strategies,” he said. “Clients are more wary about projects and are delaying stuff, but they are still engaging.

“I’ve spoken with other channel organisations and most agree the traditional transactional customers are staying on-board with them, but the spending is a little off. Project windows are also expanding out.”

CEO of Sydney-based integrator e-Volve Technology, David Simpson, said July and August had been softer but pipeline business remained strong. Certain market sectors, such as financial services, had taken a harder hit than others.

One potential byproduct of the economic crises is credit being pulled out of the channel. TCT’s Brown saw suppliers tightening their belts and scrutinising businesses more thoroughly but said his organisation continued to be able to access credit when required.

Express Data managing director, Ross Cochrane, didn’t think global concerns would impact the way local distributors allocated credit to resellers.

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