Wait wait… don’t tell me

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Great news, business is slow, says Billy MacInnes

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Billy

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28 October 2021 | 0

There has been much wailing and lamentation about product shortages and supply constraints. So much so that we are now at the point where people no longer have the energy or inclination to wail or lament. We’ve reached the stage of the resigned shrug and a philosophical “what can you do?” Delay is a fact of life.

Every market research company predicts the shortages will last into 2022 if not beyond. A couple of weeks ago, for example, IDC revealed “component shortages and other supply challenges” were continuing to affect the PC market.

Research manager for IDC’s mobile and consumer device trackers, Jitesh Ubrani stated: “The PC industry continues to be hampered by supply and logistical challenges and unfortunately these issues have not seen much improvement in recent months.”

 

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Similarly, Gartner research director Mikako Kitagawa said third quarter business PC growth “was concentrated in the desktop segment as semiconductor shortages continued to constrain laptop shipments. These component shortages are expected to persist in the first half of 2022”.

Canalys senior analyst Ishan Dutt agreed that “disruption to the global supply chain and logistics network remains the key inhibitor of higher growth in the PC market”, adding that “the shortfall in supply of PCs is expected to last well into 2022”.

Not wailing but frowning.

But it’s not all bad news. Or rather it’s we are where we are and that’s all we can do news. Dutt’s boss at Canalys, CEO Steve Brazier, was keen to advance a more nuanced view in his keynote address at the Canalys Channel Forum.

As reported in MicroScope, he argued supply shortages could mean “a whole lot of good news because with supply shortages, prices go up and you change the conversation with your customer to not which product is cheaper, but which product can I deliver first”.

For the first time in the history of the technology industry, he claimed, channel companies could tell their customers: “If you delay your purchase from now until next month or next quarter, you’re going to pay more than you would have done, not less than you would have done, as it used to be.”

What he’s saying makes sense and there are benefits for channel partners. Not only in terms of shifting the conversation to available technology and speeding up the decision making process, but also in demonstrating the role they can play in helping customers find the appropriate product for their needs, even if it isn’t the product they originally specified.

It also illustrates their value as trusted and independent advisers if partners are seen to be putting loyalty to their customers first with good product choices at a time of supply pressure rather than hanging on too long for their chosen vendor to deliver it.

So there may well be positives for the channel, even in times such as these. Brazier certainly thinks so and he has no qualms about letting people know about it. As he said in his keynote: “There is no doubt that one of the reasons why the channel is doing very well right now is shortages and shortages will continue, we predict, at least for the next 12 months, and most likely well into 2023.”

In other words, in a time of product shortages, there’s no shortage of business for the channel.

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