For all the talk about recession and macroeconomic headwinds, the IT industry remains one of the best industries to be in.
That's the word from TD Synnex CEO Rich Hume (pictured) to members of the distributor's Varnex and Tech Select partner communities who this week are attending the TD Synnex CommunitySolv conference in Orlando, Fla.
The IT industry in 2022 has not had the same growth attributes seen in 2021, Hume said.
"But when the books are written, it will show that 2022 was a great year again in the IT industry, with some shorts and longs by technology group, but overall a very strong year," he said.
Investors, however, would rather talk about what will happen in 2023, Hume said.
"We all know of the headwinds, if you will," he said. "I was in a presentation not so long ago where the theme of the discussion was living in a ‘perma-crisis.' It feels like we're almost in that stage with all of the different events that we've been through. Obviously, when we think ahead to 2023, we're talking about inflation. We're talking about higher interest rates. We‘re talking about recessionary times. We're talking about challenges in the entire market."
However, TD Synnex, in a survey of its solution provider customers to be released soon, found the channel to be much more optimistic, Hume said.
"The market still continues to show great prospects. … Globally, 80 percent of you or thereabout say that 2023 will be a growth year for you," he said.
In the IT industry, as in life, the best defense is a great offense, meaning that there are growth opportunities that can be exploited by solution providers not only now but in the next decade, Hume said.
"There's strength right now in servers and storage and networking and everything data center," he said. "But for the foreseeable future, it is around cybersecurity, IoT and analytics, and cloud-based technologies. All of these things offer great opportunities as we move into the future. And so this whole idea that you hear many times—take advantage of challenging times—I think that really means making investments now to be able to participate when the market actually returns to a very robust state."
Solution providers have built an incredibly dynamic ecosystem over the past 50 years that is able to do things like face a great unknown like the COVID-19 pandemic and make the necessary adjustments to thrive and grow in that environment, Hume said.
"At the very beginning, no one knew what to expect," he said. "And in fact, as we ventured into the period, it started with the vendors saying, ‘Hey, since we're in more uncertain times, we're going to extend more credit.' And then obviously, everybody in the entire ecosystem made adjustments for us to be successful."
That dynamic, agile ecosystem knows how to move to where opportunities exist, Hume said.
"In fact, back to our survey, approximately 70 percent of you have stated that as you look forward, you're going to be leveraging the ecosystem more frequently in all of your business interactions, which I think is an incredible opportunity," he said.
Regardless of all the ups and downs partners experience in the IT industry, it is important to keep one's eye on the long term, Hume said.
"We have the benefit of being in an industry that continually outgrows GDP," he said. "And it has been that way for decades. It offers great opportunity, although there might be ebbs and flows. The long-term opportunity for the IT industry is like none other."
In the end, Hume said, he reminds himself every day that everyone in the channel are all privileged to work in IT, which has prospered in a way no other industry has ever done.
Read on to hear what Hume's views are on where the future of IT lies...