Tech Data Cautiously Optimistic About Economy

The same day that Intel delivered disappointing financial results, Tech Data reassured investors and managed service providers that worldwide IT spending remains reasonably healthy. In fact, the big distributor announced strong quarterly financial results and also expressed cautious optimism about its current fiscal year. That's welcome news for MSPs.

"As we proceed into fiscal 2009, the economic environment remains an important consideration, but we remain cautiously optimistic," said Tech Data CEO Robert M. Dutkowsky, in a prepared statement. (Tech Data's fiscal 2009 began on February 1, 2008.)

For managed service providers, Tech Data's perspective comes at a critical time. Several big tech companies -- Intel, Cisco Systems and Dell, just to name a few -- have delivered weak results or expressed concerns about the economy in recent months. But diversified IT giants like Hewlett-Packard and IBM seem to be humming along, and some software as a service (SaaS) specialists like Salesforce.com are enjoying strong starts to 2008.

On the MSP front, platform providers like Autotask, Kaseya and Nimsoft all have expressed optimism about their business prospects for 2008. However, keeping a finger on the MSP economic pulse is a bit tricky, since most platform providers are privately held.

Tech Data's financial results provide broader comfort to the channel, since distributors usually are among the first IT companies to notice a slowdown in customer orders across their supply chains. In a prepared statement, Tech Data did not discuss the performance of any particular technology sector. But the distributor has in recent months developed a range of managed services relationships.

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