The international year of e-business, Linux, consolidation, Y2K and SMEsIf 1999's impact on the enterprise reseller space was to be summed up in one word it would have to be e-business, but there were also other notable stimuli for enterprise channels. These include the Y2K time bomb and the rapid rate at which IT and the Internet are being embraced by small, medium and large enterprises.
As a result, huge opportunities have been created in the storage and backup solution space, as organisations ensure their crucial data is securely protected.
The other crucial pattern to emerge in the last 12 months is the increased focus by enterprise vendors on the SME space as they run out of customers at the big end of town for ERP, supply chain management and call centre technology.
The rub for the channel out of all this is that it has seen many traditional direct sellers suddenly become channel-friendly, if not entirely channel-savvy. Meanwhile, these enterprise products need to be sold as solutions rather than products, which is facilitating the shift to services that all resellers have had to undertake.
These enterprise software and solutions companies have grown fat at the big end of town. They know their technology, but they don't know the SME customers who have generally bought technology through a local supplier that understands their business.
Then there is Linux, which every major vendor is now starting to take seriously. The open-source operating system has penetrated the market from the grassroots up and many enterprises don't even know they are running it as part of their IT infrastructure. So rapidly has it penetrated the hearts of programmers that it is now being touted as a serious threat to the Microsoft monopoly.
Meanwhile, enterprise-style hardware continues to become commoditised which is accelerating the need for resellers to focus on services revenues. Hardware is becoming less and less a component of the total IT spend and consolidation continues apace. Those that are doing well on services are either getting snapped up by bigger companies or are looking for others to complement their offerings.
Consolidation among vendors also made an impact this year, highlighted by the $3.5 billion incorporation of Platinum Technology into the snowballing operations of Computer Associates in March.
Not far behind that in size and impact was the joining in holy matrimony of storage and backup software vendor Veritas with Seagate Software's compatible network and storage management group.
The good news is that next year is looking like being just as hectic in the enterprise channel as business-to-business electronic procurement becomes the next great wave of opportunity. There is also no doubt the Federal Government's GST - scheduled for introduction on July 1 - is going to change everything once again.
As well as impacting on how products and services are billed, the GST is generating a massive need for businesses to reinvent their whole accounting procedures. That means they are calling in integrators to help them achieve compliance with the new laws and to ensure that they are not missing out on GST credits they are entitled to. Undoubtedly, as all the Y2K projects wind down, their GST equivalents will start to fire up.
Following are some of the stories featured in the enterprise section this year which have or will have an impact on enterprise resellers.
Microsoft simplifies BackOffice management (January 27)Major players bring Linux to the enterprise (March 10)Integrators thrive on services (March 17)SMEs share massive EDS/Tax Office spoils (March 24)Sun bets business on Web portal vision (March 24)Thin clients offer e-business alternative (April 7)ERP must move to the Internet (May 5)EDS' Adelaide data centre a hollow shell (May 19)Resellers face Web-to-host connectivity dilemma (June 23)More vendors in bed with Linux fever (August 18)Exchange edging out Notes as mail client (August 25)IBM eclipses Sun on Unix servers (September 22)Servers are where Sun is shining (September 29)Apps-on-tap seen as ideal model for Asia (October 20)Open Group unveils app management standard (November 10)