Opinion

Could the worst be over?

While it is a wait and watch period for the next few months, the industry has perhaps moved beyond the worst phase. A return to the ebullient sentiment of last year may be wishful thinking but companies need to get a move on. A Gartner analyst emphasises that it’s unlikely that the economy will revert to its old model fuelled by cheap credit after its recovery, business leaders will look to the IT industry for ideas on how to reshape their companies to meet new economic realities.
The research agency also says that IT companies and CIOs should start preparing for business growth immediately if they want to avoid falling behind competitors once the recession ends. IT as an Business enabler will be a strategic asset and companies like IBM with its Dynamic Infrastructure and similar other initiatives seems to be reinforcing this message to the market in new ways, such as selling the value proposition of Technology to the CFO.
On the other hand, it is refreshing to see that the industry in general is demonstrating confidence and some resilience. At the Digital Consumer Channel meet recently in Fujairah, the participating vendors seemed to be buoyant of their prospects, while also conceding the indisputable fact that new ways of selling are called for, to beat the challenges that recessionary pressures are throwing at them.
Companies like Sandisk for instance are relying on concept stores to push more visibility for its products and brand. It recently unveiled it Memory centre at E Max at the Oasis Centre in Dubai. Toshiba recently unveiled a concept store as well in Dubai Festival city to boost visibility for its extended range of products. Such initiatives could be a key differentiator in giving an indirect fillip to sales.
Frankly, the challenges and opportunities differ from manufacturer to manufacturer depending on their product lines. Growth is expected to come in from new categories such as the network multimedia drives, in its various manifestations from different manufacturers such as Western Digital, Seagate, Imation and more. Products that offer a compulsive consumer proposition will continue to spur sales such as the Netbook, albeit with lesser profitability per unit sold.
Against the current backdrop the entry of AOC with its monitor portfolio seems to be a defiant and bold initiative. With its extensive portfolio, the manufacturer seems confident of gaining a foothold in the region.  It is hoping to benefit from the fact that the Middle East in general continues to be seen as one of the regions less affected and perhaps expected to show faster recovery. With a proclivity to be fast adopters of new technologies in both consumer and commercial segments, it is no wonder that this region will continue to be a favourite destination for Technology suppliers and manufacturers.

IT companies and CIOs should start preparing for business growth immediately if they want to avoid falling behind competitors once the recession ends

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