According to new figures from CONTEXT (see page 4), the European IT distribution channel has enjoyed a good 12 months, with growth of 6.7% in 2018. In the UK, the figure was even higher, at 8.7% The research company warns that growth will start slowing in Q2 as Brexit starts to affect demand in EU economies. Even so, IT distributors can look forward to year-on-year growth of 3% to 6% – a level of growth that many other industries would kill for. CONTEXT points out that digital transformation, which poses so many challenges for traditional industries, is the motor for much of this growth, driving demand for secure solutions, hybrid cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure.
One vendor that is doing very well from this trend is Cohesity. Founded in 2013, it has developed a hyperconverged webscale data platform for secondary storage and is now growing by more than 300% a year. It recently secured a further $250 million to fund its continued growth and expansion. It is strange to think of such a well endowed company as a start-up, but that is how EMEA Channel Manager Johannes Kunz characterised it in our interview with him (starting on page 23). He pointed out that despite the hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal, an experienced, inspirational CEO and a stable core product (already at version 6.1), the company faces challenges that all start-ups experience in the high growth phase of their development, notably recruitment. Many companies are finding it hard to attract the right staff, and it can be particularly difficult for start-ups that have a much smaller pool to draw from, mainly because of their need for people with energy, drive, determination, initiative and perseverance. Kunz calls such people ‘hunters’ and distinguishes them from ‘farmers’ who might be better suited to established businesses with a mature product and stable customer base. With growth forecasts at their lowest for a decade, perhaps it’s time more of us discovered our inner hunter and made the effort to track down new opportunities rather than waiting for them to emerge from carefully tilled soil.