Canadian resellers say the marketplace is looking better today after several years of turmoil, according to a 99-page survey of the IT channel.

“”The future of the IT industry is rosy,”” said Michelle Warren, market analyst for Evans Research of Toronto and the author of this report.

“”According

to survey respondents, with 52 per cent predicting an increase in hardware sales and outsourcing forecast to increase by 48 per cent, the challenging period experienced in the past three years by resellers are over. They have emerged (from the market downturn) stronger and are poised for optimistic growth.””

The report was based on 175 qualified respondents, 79 per cent of which had fewer than 50 employees.

Another key finding is the trend towards co-opetition, with 56 per cent of survey respondents indicating they have formed partnerships with other organizations most notably professional services firms.

The report also found that resellers believe professional services is a key growth area and that many of the respondents want to build practices in management consulting, security, mobility and disaster recovery.

With that, software is playing a bigger role in reseller businesses than ever before, Warren said. Microsoft, IBM and Symantec were ranked the top three software vendors in by respondents. Each scored very well in critical reseller areas such as technical support and training.

Hewlett-Packard Canada Ltd. was ranked the top PC and peripherals vendor, while Ingram Micro Canada claimed the top spot in IT distribution, according to the survey.

However, the resellers interviewed for the survey want vendors to bring back more marketing dollars to the table.

“”With tight marketing budgets, resellers rely upon the vendor’s marketing and development funds to help contribute to increased business opportunities,”” Warren said.

She said the main reason the research firm undertook this survey is that the reseller channel is critical to the success of the IT industry. The company also wanted to provide vendors with a better understanding of resellers and the benefits of channel partnership.

“”The reseller is, in many instances, the sole front line contact with the end user, and bridges the gap between vendors and users. As a result, the reseller is in the best position to understand the idiosyncrasies of the market – the pushes and pulls of the end user – what clients’ want and don’t want – coupled with the direction in which the market is heading,”” Warren said.

For more on this study check the August 6th print edition of CDN.

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