Figures don’t tell the real story

Believe it or not, but things are looking up in the channel. Despite IDC Canada’s recently released report that found the Canadian PC market is continuing to get weaker. And, top VARs such as Burntsands reporting an 18.4 per cent revenue decline in its second quarter.

While I do not doubt that

PC shipments are a great indicator if a market is healthy or sick, but the channel has evolved into something more than just the simple resale of a PC.

In the past few months, companies such as Altusen, Extended Systems, Panorama Software, Igel, Sophos Inc., St. Bernard Software, IDB Group, and Yo Inc. have developed or are in the midst of developing channel plans and are actively looking for resellers to partner with.

Sure some or possibly all of these companies you may have never heard of, however, they have heard of you. Most of these companies are based in the U.S. Sophos is a U.K. anti-virus and security software developer, while Panorama and Yo are Canadian. They all believe in the market potential of Canada and all of them believe that the only true way to success is through the channel.

If you think these fringe opportunities are a sign of positive cash flow ahead, well what about the news coming from Accpac, Cisco, Computer Associates, Fujitsu, Microsoft Business Solutions, Network Appliance, Nortel Networks, Seanix and Siemens. All these companies are not what you would call carpetbaggers or fly-by-night operations.

Accpac a month ago came to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver with its CEO and top staff on a VAR recruiting mission.

Cisco, after announcing a revolutionary partner program that will increase margins dramatically, have confirmed it will have its channel resell Cisco-brand support. Meanwhile, CA took a page from Cisco and with its own revolutionary partner program and will be deliver enormous rebates to its resellers large and small.

Fujitsu sign a distribution agreement with Synnex Canada. Microsoft Business Solutions said it would expand its Canadian presales support to the channel. Both Network Appliance and Nortel Networks released brand new channel plans.

And, in our cover story Tech Data and Seanix have partnered in an attempt to take away marketshare from Dell and more importantly give resellers a viable alternative to the top brands. Oh, and I almost forgot, Telus National Systems will be reselling Siemens equipment in Canada.

Even telco suppliers such as Group Telecom see potential in VARs and are developing a VAR strategy and recruitment drive.

All this strong activity is a sign of prosperous times ahead. When things are bad, companies tend to hunker down and control activity, which usually means operation spending. In good times, companies’ partner, make deals, and in general get aggressive. Look for more activity in the coming months ahead.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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