"Nothing’s ever bad, I think that’s a negative way of looking at things," replies Datastor managing director Dave Rosenberg when asked whether he thinks 2012 will be a good or a bad year for the IT industry.
"Look, I think there’s going to be challenges for the New Zealand economy—we’ve had a pretty tough year in terms of natural disasters and all of the government [activity] in the middle of that which is taking its time to come on stream. I don’t think it’s going to be a year of huge growth—it’ll certainly have its challenges, but I don’t think it’ll be a bad year. Certainly in our business we’ve had a couple of very good years of growth but I don’t necessarily see that growth continuing at the rate it has been."
Rosenberg says he expects "a lot of change in the industry" in the year ahead but it will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
"Virtualisation has been a big growth area and there will be a lot of consolidation. One of the things we are seeing is a very high uptake of cloud in New Zealand and I think there are a couple of reasons for that. The natural disaster down south with the earthquake certainly has caused a lot of people to re-evaluate through force and look at where their datacentre sits. But also our topography, geography the way our cities are spread it’s an ideal market for cloud, and new Zealand tends to be an early adopter."
But Rosenberg says the cloud will not revolutionise the industry any more than application service providers (ASP) did.
"Cloud’s nothing new. People suggest that cloud’s going to change the industry ... my belief is that there’s still going to be a need for local infrastructure, there’s certainly still going to be a need for private cloud. What we are seeing is a number of the service providers offering a much wider level of service around cloud providing and that creates opportunities in itself. I don’t see doom and gloom and I don’t see that it's going to change the channel or the purchase model."
What Rosenberg does see happening this year is more consolidation, among resellers as well as vendors and distributors. In the distributor segment, Rosenberg says those resellers which are too small to enjoy economies of scale but have yet to establish themselves in a market niche will be the most vulnerable.
"The mid tier distributors are struggling and will continue to struggle next year," he says.
One of the perennial challenges facing the IT industry that has recently reared its head again is the issue of staff retention. "Unfortunately the skilled labour force are migrating overseas," says Rosenberg.
Another potential problem area in 2012, although for the IT industry it is an also a big opportunity, is the bring your own technology trend.
"You have to provide wi-fi," says Rosenberg. "My prediction is that the whole area [of bring your own technology] will become bigger. People will start bringing their notebooks into the office if they are not already."