Oostveen agreed the Windows 7 launch helped fuel the market. “Windows 7 was a great success for Microsoft. It did buoy the PC marketplace, and it was certainly one of the strong drivers for growth,” Miley said.
The “big message for the channel” in 2010 was how important it is, he said.
“The channel is more important today than it was in the past. Three years, five years, it doesn’t matter how far you go back, the channel has never been more important. The new IP in IT seems to be customer relationships - and vendors recognise that their channel partners hold this important set of keys to their success.”
Indeed, pooling resources is the key to channel success, Oostveen said.
“We’re going to see some interesting bedfellows coming up in 2011. Some partners will align. You might have storage specialists align with service specialists or with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) specialists – and collaborate their resource pools to be able to provide one solution to an end user.”
Certainly, cloud computing resonated loud and clear with the channel in 2010.
Symantec Pacific region director of enterprise channel, Jeff Arndt, said 2010 was the year of the cloud.
“This year the dominant conversation was around the cloud – it proved to be the year where cloud was defined. At the start of the year, it was all about branding and the marketing of the cloud. Now we have actual traction around software-as-a-Service [SaaS] and Infrastructure-as-a-Service [IaaS],” Arndt said. “The momentum will continue and we’ll start to see who all the players are.”
Symantec small business and distribution director, Steve Martin, said the channel started getting its ducks in order to address cloud computing opportunities. “Last year we saw a move back to basics for the channel. Tough times force innovation. The channel started to learn how to build the cloud – building their own datacentre and determining services. There’s a huge amount of work in that space. They are interested in innovation and new revenue streams.”
Ingram’s Miley said there’s a “lot of curiosity” with cloud.
“Cloud means a lot of different things to a lot of different people – and there’s the public/private aspect, which is an interesting debate," he said.
“We intend to enable our partners in terms of educating them about cloud business models in order to be successful on the journey. We do believe certain applications, business solutions will migrate more towards the cloud-based private and public environments.”