IT centralisation has been identified as the largest growth area for the IT industry this year, according to 62pc of Irish channel partners in a survey conducted by Citrix Systems.
Two thirds of channel partners surveyed believe desktop virtualisation sales will also see an increase of between 6pc and 15pc in 2009.
Over half of those surveyed are of the opinion that virtualisation is still considered only by the early adopter companies, and that there is still more to do to educate the CEO and CIO level as to its benefits.
The survey also revealed that the greatest challenge facing cloud computing deployment is industry education (52pc).
“The survey results are a barometer for the times we are in,” said Niall Gilmore, country manager of Citrix Ireland.
“2009 will be a challenging year, with pressure on CIOs to reduce spend, while making IT departments more flexible, efficient and carbon friendly.
“Virtualisation answers these challenges, and, as a result, is gaining momentum across a range of users, from the enterprise to SMEs. Earlier this year, we introduced the only ‘no cost’ enterprise server virtualisation technology into the global marketplace, to great response locally.”
He added: “While virtualisation continues to reorganise the global IT industry, as well as underpinning emerging technologies such as cloud computing, its continuous evolution means CIOs and IT directors face the challenge of educating their CEOs to its many business benefits including cost efficiency.”
The majority of those surveyed believe 2009 will continue to be a challenging year, with overall spending lower and CIO budgets considerably restrained by the CEO.
Cost will continue to drive the IT agenda (65pc), with flexibility/mobility coming a strong second (45pc). In keeping with this, the survey results indicate that the biggest challenges to channel partners will be new business wins (81pc) and increased volume of sales (48pc).
Irish channel partners are altogether optimistic for their sales targets in 2009, and one third of channel partners predict an increase within the next 6 months.
So, how is the IT marketplace going to bounce back? Alongside predicted growth in IT centralisation and virtualisation, the public sector (67pc), financial services (43pc) and healthcare sector (38pc) present the biggest growth opportunity to the channel base.
By John Kennedy