VARs: Dow's Four-Year High Indicates Economic Improvement


The Dow Jones index closed over 13,000 Tuesday for the first time since May 19, 2008, and several solution providers said they believe the economy has improved enough to sustain that confidence on Wall Street.

Ira Bell, COO of Nimbo, a N.Y.-based solution provider, said his customers are buying and his company is hiring.

"They're definitely spending. People are paying more attention to detail around specific line items, but the purse strings are [open]. People are interested in technology," he said.

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The Dow closed at $13,005.12 on Tuesday and had dipped slightly below that threshold on Wednesday, reaching $12,990.82 in afternoon trading.

Bell added he's not sure how confident people are outside the Big Apple, but in Manhattan it's full steam ahead. "You hear all the crap on the news but that could be [more] the political season," Bell said. "I'm confident in the stock market and in the economy as a whole."

Nimbo is in a hiring mood and several of Bell's peers have told him they're doing the same, Bell said. "We're focusing more on product development, in line with what is seen as needs around our service offerings," he said.

Not surprisingly, enterprises are looking to spend on cloud computing, mobile devices and social media, according to Bill Hole, president of The Hole Group, a Simi Valley, Calif.-based VAR.

"Those are three new opportunities that we didn't really have before the economic downturn and are really starting to take off," said Hole. "We're definitely looking at growing our business at this time. We're seeing some recovery that's more than theory at this point. There's a more positive outlook with the Dow and Nasdaq recovering. People see the end of the downturn and they're fortifying their positions for the next wave of success."

Internally, The Hole Group plans to add technical and sales resources around cloud, mobility and social media solutions in 2012, Hole said. "We're anticipating a solid year because we service medical and financial services companies. You can't get away from death and taxes."

The Dow had closed below 10,000 as recently as last June and had reached its nadir during the recession of 6,627 in March 2009. Now, as the Dow approaches doubling that low point, VARs might find it easier to hire talent that has been tough to find, said Christian Franklin, managing partner at The TAM Group, a San Francisco-based VAR.

"I think a lot of the economic malaise has kept people from considering any employment moves. With things potentially picking up, people might start to re-evaluate or reconsider what they're doing and it might come to mean a shift in the labor market," Franklin said. "A big part of our [growth] challenge is finding great, qualified people. That's our biggest dilemma."

Mike Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based VAR, agreed that the hiring process has been a challenge but he hopes increased economic confidence will help woo new resources to his company.

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