Hurry up and relax

Hurry up and relax


This has been the year that went by too quickly.

But also the one that couldn’t end soon enough.

From where I sit, the reseller channel has shown some flex in holding its ground against sea-changes in delivery models and our nail-bitingly slow recovery.

Businesses in general thought that the bad times were behind them. They were a little overly optimistic.

According to a New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) analysis of MYOB Business Monitor reports over four years, the majority of organisations thought the economy would have recovered by the end of 2011.

Historical trends suggest it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

“All the economic data shows this has not been a typical downturn,” says NZIER principal economist Shamubeel Eaqub in a statement. “The recession lasted nearly twice as long as other recessions in the last 50 years, and the recovery since has been quite shallow.”

The bright spot, perhaps, is that if you’re in the technology channel, you might have reaped some of the benefits as organisations sought ways to keep their bottom line from bottoming out.

The NZIER says busineses which have grown their way out of recession were far more likely to have made a sizeable investment in information technology over the last four years, with 23 percent of surveyed organisations increasing their spend on IT systems.

That minority of organisations looking to IT solutions to tighten their belts perhaps means that somebody in the right place at the right time in the channel is hosting, virtualising, or managing solutions meant to save the clients money.

As I say, resellers have shown flex, but it hasn’t been easy.

For PC Zone in hard-hit Helensville, self-preservation has been kind of like tossing excess weight from the lifeboat, as described in Lee Davis’ profile on page 21. The company realised that servicing home computers was taking attention away from the more sustainable small business customers, and shifting focus from the staff’s core expertise.

The company is now looking towards remote monitoring as a new line of business and there are opportunities in alarm, DVR systems and other kinds of surveillance systems, says owner Richard Downer. So while Downer is still looking after some home-based customers, he’s not encouraging retail trade to walk in off the street.

That’s the kind of flex small resellers need to have to keep on going. We don’t know who the competitor is that Downer mentions in the profile, but it makes you wonder if part of the reason for its closure had to do with just not keeping up with the reality of that particular market. Or focusing on “the here and now”, as Downer put it.

Personally, the economy makes me nervous, which is why I say this year couldn’t end soon enough.

But did 2012 really go by too quickly? I’m not the only one who thinks so. Several people I spoke with at Cisco’s Long Lunch in November, which raised money for colon cancer research as a “Movember” event, agreed with me.

Obviously, this is just a perception, but perhaps those that I spoke with were the ones kept busy by that 23 percent of businesses increasing their investment in IT.

And while businesses may have misplaced their optimism that things should have already improved a year ago, can we look forward to 2013 with a similar hope that is more aligned with reality?

Justin Tye at Exeed seems to think so, with qualifications.

"At the enterprise level, the forecast is not too bad," he says. "It’s not any worse, but maybe no better than previous years we’ve seen."

The best thing to do, perhaps, is to have a great holiday, refresh yourselves, and come back to work next year ready to rumble.

Have a happy holiday, everyone. Thank you for reading Reseller News, and enjoy your New Year.

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