There are plenty of early signs to indicate that 2003 is going to be bigger, brighter and better for the IT distribution channel. A strong Christmas for retailers and news of two large outsourcing contracts lead the way.
When large corporates such as ING show their commitment to IT outsourcing is not wavering and put their faith in the local industry, it is a good sign that the keys to the coffers are turning.
Add to that the just-announced $1 billion spend coming out of the Defence Department — arguably the largest consumer of technology in the country — and 2003 is already blazing a path to glory.
It doesn’t matter which way you look at $1 billion, it is a hell of a lot of money and that sort of investment in technology is going to have a positive trickle down effect on all levels of the channel, from Williamstown to Puckapunyal.
Vendors will benefit from the base hardware and software that will form the foundations of the solutions to be developed and implemented as a result of this overdue spending spree.
These base wares have to be moulded into solutions and distributed — the lifeblood of the wholesale and reseller tiers of the channel — while the service companies that customise, enhance and maintain the solutions gain impetus from this affirmation of the importance of technology in secure and efficient operation of business.
It is easy to surmise that there are just a few winners in the signing of such deals, but that would be wrong. The truth is that it is not just the companies directly involved that feel the benefits. All of their partners, suppliers and associates also receive a boost from the added activity, profitability and employment created.
Meanwhile, new systems and methodologies developed by the contract-winning service providers change the way these large end users deal with their suppliers, customers and employees.
That, in turn, forces third parties to adopt and acquire new technologies and so the ball keeps rolling on for the suppliers of these solutions — the channel.
The injection of cash into the channel announced recently in the form of two large service contracts supports that theory.
The challenge for all players in the IT distribution chain is to ensure that the products and services you are delivering remain relevant to the way that the imminent spending patterns manifest.
From a personal point of view, the year has also really started with a bang following the birth of my second daughter.
Francesca Margaret Evans Norsa was born on January 12 and that to me is as good a sign as any that the world and the channel is going to be a better place in 2003.
Gerard Norsa, ARN’s Melbourne based editor at large, can be contacted at (03) 9690 2859 or firstname.lastname@example.org.