Editorial: Last-minute specials

Editorial: Last-minute specials

Does the end of financial year still matter?

The last month of the financial year has traditionally been the busiest time in the IT supplier’s calendar as local organisations look to get in last-minute purchases and make use of remaining budget, or settle accounts before it’s time to do their tax.

But given the economic downturn, and the increasing focus away from point product sales into longer-term and more strategic ICT procurement, does end-of-year really matter anymore?

For several years now, ARN has been speaking to people in the industry to see how their June sales are going. In this week’s edition, we’ve included a special report on what the status quo is this time around, and where the channel might find some opportunities (see p8).

Several organisations, such as ASX-listed integrator, Data#3, remain optimistic they’ll still see another end-of-year surge for products and software licensing despite the overall downturn. ComputerCorp is another integrator spying extra opportunities in June as government agencies look to outlay the rest of their budgets.

Several hardware-based vendors, such as Lenovo and Toshiba, were equally certain June would prove a bigger month than the last, driven by the small business tax incentives and Government stimulus packages. Yet there were also organisations who argued the trends of cost reduction and consolidation were the biggest current influencers on ICT procurement.

What many in the industry pointed to as driving end-of year spending in 2009 are actually broader stimulus and tax incentive packages rolled out in recent months, which will affect ICT for the rest of the year. Most notably, the Government’s small business tax breaks, allowing smaller organisations to claim 50 per cent back for eligible items over $1000, such as IT hardware, will be available until the end of the year.

Regardless of whether you think June is the best time to snap up deals or not, many of the points made in the special report are valid business and sales tactics you can utilise for every customer deal. In other news, the hotly anticipated launch of VMware’s new cloud computing platform, vSphere, proved a winner with the vendor’s local channel partners (see p1). Praised for its ability to help manage virtual servers and environments, as well as for its stronger security capabilities, the new platform is predicted to give virtualisation take-up another boost.

According to several people who attended the Sydney partner launch of vSphere last week, it was standing room only. After such a successful year last year, virtualisation technology has held on as one of the most significant technologies affecting the corporate world in 2009. Now, as cloud computing moves into the spotlight, organisations will be looking to both these offerings to improve efficiencies in their ICT infrastructure.

Tying the latest version of its virtualisation infrastructure platform with cloud computing was a smart move by VMware. It remains to be seen how organisations will take this new offering, but I’m predicting there are a bunch of partners becoming busy right now – regardless of whether it’s June or not.

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