Photo: Steve Brazier on stage with Meg Whitman, CEO, HP.
If there's one message that the 2013 Canalys Channels Forum delegates could take away from the Shangri La Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, it is this: the global economic crisis is over, and that channels in Asia Pacific should embrace new opportunities emerging from the IT frontier while avoiding pitfalls.
Steve Brazier, President and CEO of Canalys, proclaimed that recovery during his keynote address at the forum, which saw more than 900 delegates—channel partners, distributors and agencies—from 23 countries attending.
"In the last three years, the number one topic talked about is the economy," Brazier said. "The economic crisis is over," proclaimed Brazier. "Q4 will be hurt by the [government] shutdown in the US: China had a difficult spring, and floods in Thailand, but that's all over," he said. "For businesses which don't change, that's really bad news," he added.
The forum also saw the participation of Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard, who said: "Now more than ever, customers need partners that help them bridge the gap between the promise of the benefits to business and the reality of adoption in areas such as cloud, security, big data and mobility. HP's solutions for the new style of IT, combined with a refreshed partner program, help customers realise the full benefits of next-generation technologies, and partners gain a competitive advantage and increase profitability."
Quoting from Canalys' own "IT Titans Index", a methodology for tracking the performances of major IT vendors, Brazier said that all the top vendors have considerably slowed down from 2011 to 2013. "This is a sign of a need for the industry in transition to change," he said. "Vendors were a little disappointed that the channels are making more money out of serving the installed base."
Results from vendors have been generally flat, he said, and opined that they are still not quite out of the doldrums. Despite the slowdown in the PC business, the IT industry on the whole is still very much alive, "because the success of the smartphone industry in 2011-2013 contributed massive growth revenues into the industry," he said.
"The software industry has been steady while the infrastructure and services have merely suffered from a slowdown in spending both in government and financial spending. We're optimistic as the economy stabilises and improves, that we'll see more expenditure and replacement cycles in infrastructure in 2014," he added.
The arrival of mobility is also seen as the move from wired networks to wireless networks. "Seen the uptake of developing markets of 4G, arrival of fast storage, arrival of ARM-based servers, putting Intel under real pressure," said Brazier. "We've seen server market go to white boxes. Price is a real concern, as more and more devices consume energy. The US has a real competitive advantage over most countries in Asia, and most countries in Europe, because of the arrival of shale gas, and the low price of energy in US compared to elsewhere. That's a big advantage also to the data centre industry."
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