Public sector spending, and its impact on ICT, has suffused many of the pages in this week’s edition of ARN.
In the space of seven days, we heard about the launch of the Federal Government’s first defence whitepaper in 10 years, signalling the strategic importance of ICT in modern warfare and communications (see page 8). There was also industry debate on the rollout of the National Broadband Network (page 8) as well as the drawn out, controversial Internet filtering scheme (check out arnnet.com.au).
At a sustainability level, we’ve also reported on K.Rudd’s decision to delay the introduction of the Emissions Trading Scheme to 2011 (see page 1) and the effect on “greener” ICT practices and providers.
It remains to be seen how much work becomes available to the wider ICT channel as a result of the defence whitepaper, NBN, Internet filtering or even carbon emissions trading. Or indeed, how long it will be before action is taken on any of these fronts.
However, what these articles do show is the significance of ICT in our future – be it to access information from the global Internet, the impact on state security, or on our carbon footprint.
Many of this industry’s representative bodies have spent a lot of hours lobbying Government on the importance of ICT in economic and environmental sustainability. In line with this, I hope they continue to advocate for support for smaller ICT channel partners who make these technology rollouts and advancements possible.
Which brings me to the next point. In other market-related news this week, we took a look at how the economic downturn is fostering partner-to-partner relationships (see page 1). Many pointed out it’s also triggering a rise in vendor-to-partner collaboration.
One of the trends channel organisations historically fear during any economic downturn is vendors taking more customers direct. In theory, it’s understandable why they would – nobody can afford to lose a customer in a dour climate, especially when it’s so hard to win business or get those customer dollars in the fi st place.
But these days, vendors are working more closely with their partners than ever. Instead of taking a short-term view and snatching back customers to hit quarterly targets, vendors are proactively assisting partners to provide a better solution and close those customer deals.
And partners are loving this “hightouch” or “enablement” strategy, many tell us. To highlight the success of this approach, Symantec’s David Dzienciol cited a 30 per cent increase in the number of partners attending its various enablement sessions in the past six months.
At a recent ARN roundtable on strategic solution selling, several vendors and their partners also agreed closer collaboration was necessary to the success of both parties (the edited version of this roundtable will be available with our May 20 edition).
Public sector spending and support may certainly be one of the ingredients the ICT industry needs to survive, but partnering and collaboration are the utensils everyone needs for longterm success.