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In my opinion, the next six to 12 months are going to be sheer hell in the UK marketplace, as we see the effects of the long overdue reduction in big government.

Storm on the horizon

The much talked about double dip recession seems ever more likely, and as the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government implements spending cuts there will be increased unemployment and a smaller public sector, not only in employment terms, but also in capital expenditure, including ICT.

In the long term, this has to be a good thing; we as a nation cannot go on spending money that we simply don’t have. However, in the short term it means the bigger players in our industry will have to replace lost public sector business with more corporate and SME/SMB business, putting even more pressure on independent retailers in terms of hardware and software sales.

BATTLING ON

Indies must focus on repairs and upgrades, together with managed services within their local communities, as these are the sectors the big players cannot reach in a costeffective way. Levels of service will be paramount if indies are to see off further incursions into the four million small businesses they look after throughout the UK.

Indies lost the battle for hardware sales long ago to the supermarkets, sheds and e-tailers, and anyone who argues otherwise is wrong. The indie can, however, still win in niche, lower volume product areas that require a level of technical sales expertise. This is an area Brigantia intends to concentrate on.

Given the prevailing economic conditions, we have spent the last 12 months developing frontline schemes to help our members capitalise on opportunities and protect local consumer, SOHO and SMB market share.

SERVICE WITH A SMILE

Retailers now fix more notebooks, netbooks and games consoles than ever before, in addition to their traditional PC, server and printer repair and upgrade businesses. Notebook repair training, spare-parts sourcing and more complicated third-party repair services are now well-established.

Remote support has also proved very popular, with many of our members currently rolling out services to their end users through our various discount schemes. Remote back-up and business continuity have also proved growth areas, along with internet services. VoIP also looks to be an area of massive potential for indies.

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