From The Editor | April 12, 2011

Ingram Micro VTN: State Of The Market

Webinar: Cloud 101

By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor

One of my favorite presentations at the Ingram Micro VTN Invitational events is the State of the Market from Gartner analyst Tiffani Bova. How she manages to pack so much information into a 20 minute talk is a constant wonder to me, and I'll do my best to share the best of her presentation with you here.

When Bova addressed VTN members at last year's event, she covered expect top trends of 2010, including cloud, advanced analytics, reshaping the data center, social computing, security, virtualization, and mobile applications. This year, the top 10 include:

  • cloud (not a surprise here)
  • mobile applications (especially those customized for your verticals)
  • next-gen analytics (business need intelligence about what is driving their growth)
  • social communications (namely collaboration that empowers cost savings and innovation)
  • video
  • ubiquitous computing (getting computing power where, when, and how the user wants)

Why do some of these sound like SMB-oriented technologies? ‘Cause they are. Bova outlined that the SMB market represents 44% of total IT spend, accounting for $828 billion worldwide in 2011 alone. Good news for the channel, right? Most IT providers are particularly comfortable talking to and supporting SMB customers, so as more technologies emerge that solve the business problems of SMBs, that means more opportunity for you.

Beyond the SMB market, Bova advises IT providers to look at what might have been considered enterprise-oriented solutions a couple years ago. CIOs in the midmarket are telling Gartner their priorities include cloud, virtualization, mobile technology, voice and data communications, IT management, business intelligence, infrastructure, collaboration, and security. "This mirrors almost exactly what enterprise says," says Bova. If you have your eye on those midmarket customers, its good advice to start gaining expertise in those technologies before you go knocking on potential customer doors.

When looking at the three categories into which most solutions fall , Gartner expects certain applications to top the IT must-have list:

  • Hardware: desktop PCs, mobile PCs, server virtualization, security hardware, rack servers, mobile devices, and NAS
  • Software: security, virtualization, desktop OS, customer relationship management, and business intelligence
  • Networking: firewall, access control, wireless LAN, data management, IP telephone, WAN

Now, Bova talked about cloud as much as anyone, but her bottom line was this: understand that cloud is just another alternative to delivery and access, and it isn't the end all. Her advice: If you aren't going to get involved with cloud, then develop extreme expertise around what you do now so that you have a strong differentiator against cloud offerings.