Editorial: Looking to the future

Editorial: Looking to the future

Optimism is coming back into the ICT industry

There are quite a few reasons for ICT providers to smile these days.

According to recent Gartner figures for Q2, Australia’s server sales significantly improved over the previous dire quarter, and were well above the Asia-Pacific average. When ARN spoke to several integrators and distributors about what they thought of the results, we were pleased to hear that they believed things were indeed improving and customer sentiment was becoming positive once more. While we’re not out of the woods yet, the indicators are that spending will keep picking up going into 2010.

A similar sense of optimism was also apparent in Queensland last week after the state government announced its ICT agenda to industry pundits (see page 1). Its whole-of-government strategies are aimed at better utilising ICT for customer and economic growth and delivering up clever ICT practices.

Industry groups like the AIIA were quick to applaud Queensland’s recognition of ICT’s importance in state innovation and growth. It also highlights some of the wideranging oppportunities providers can look forward to.

At the same time as the server guys were looking up, and the industry groups were patting Queensland’s premier on the back, Ingram Micro unveiled a $6m datacentre facility designed to give resellers the tools to demonstrate infrastructure solutions from multiple vendors to their customers. The Partner Technology Centre has also been crafted along more “green” lines and will be audited by Carbon Planet.

Resellers on-hand to see the datacentre on launch night were certainly positive about the impact it could have.

The desire to innovate shown by Ingram’s enterprise team also filtered through to the distributor’s marketing division, which announced it would drop the national expotech roadshow in favour of an interactive 3D, Virtual Expotech. During an event in Sydney last week, the distributor showcased a couple of the online features including the avatar capabilities of the site.

While the online portal’s capabilities are impressive, there were two questions immediately raised by guests at the launch event. The first was the notable absence of a link between Virtual Expotech and Ingram’s highly prominent ordering system, TechLink. According to Ingram staffers, more interactivity between the two is on the cards later next year.

The second question was to what extent resellers would interact with the features available online.

There’s no doubt that it will take resellers time to get used to the new online-based experience, and for Ingram and its vendors to work out the best ways to utilise the system. What’s great to see is that an IT organisation is beginning to innovate and look towards the future again.

If the economic downturn has taught us one lesson, it’s that you can’t keep doing things the way you’ve always done them. Ingram and the Queensland Government show it’s time to shift back into proactive mode.

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