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If there is one question dominating channel minds it is what the year ahead holds.
Most agree that 2009 is going to be tough and that thinking beyond the end of this month is guesswork for most financial planners.
Next month, analyst house Canalys is hosting a conference in Barcelona aimed at providing resellers with answers to some of the most pressing questions about how to survive the downturn, as well as creating a platform for most of the major vendors to share their thoughts about the year ahead.
Canalys president and CEO Steve Brazier says there is no doubt that weak companies will find things tough, and inevitably some will go to the wall, but he adds that there are still opportunities for channel players to emerge stronger from the current crisis.
“There is no point running a business expecting to go into a great depression,” he says, insisting that the only way to run a business is to assume the recession will last for a period of time and to work towards being in the best position when things pick up.
“The weak companies will go out of business. Most companies are making headcount reductions in the last quarter and this quarter,” he says.
In recent research Canalys found a third of resellers across Europe expect a pay freeze and just over a quarter expect to be paid less this year.
Many in the channel take the view that IT could be pitched to help companies consolidate costs and achieve greater efficiencies. Brazier highlights virtualisation, unified communications, cloud computing and mobility as areas of continued growth.
However, some areas will become victims of the downturn, the most notable being green IT and those trying to prise users away from relatively recent investments. “We are less convinced that a company which has already invested in a CRM or Exchange infrastructure will throw that out,” Brazier says.
On a positive note, Brazier views the declining value of the pound as a possible benefit. “A year ago I said the UK was one of the most expensive places to do business; 12 months later that is not the case.”
The Canalys event in Barcelona on 4-5 February 2009 aims to provide resellers with information to help them steer their business through recession.
“It is important for business owners to work out where they want to go in the future and it would be irresponsible for them not to do that,” says Steve Brazier.
Authorised resellers may be eligible for funded places. More information is available on the Canalys website.