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The best and brightest solution providers grappling with the herculean task of rebuilding their business for the cloud computing era are planning for robust sales growth in 2013 even as they view it as another year of transition.
Jere Brown, CEO of Dimension Data Americas, No. 11 on the CRN Solution Provider 500 list with $5.8 billion in sales, said the company, which has made huge investments in building out a comprehensive cloud computing services portfolio, is planning on "midteens" sales growth in the U.S. in 2013.
"We know 2013 is going to be another year of transition," said Brown in an interview at the Best of Breed Conference, being held this week at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa, Fla., and aimed at helping solution providers retool for the cloud era. "In the U.S. we have government change. We have economic conditions that are mixed. We have large corporations still on tight budgets so we have to find new ways to create revenue. We are looking for growth in the midteens in the U.S. and we are looking for growth faster than that outside the U.S. We are looking to grow services faster than we grow products. We want to grow three to four times GDP [Gross Domestic Product].
"I am very optimistic," added Brown. "We have significant investments in sales. We are trying to keep our support infrastructure costs down in Q1. I think it is going to be a pretty good year."
Given the big capital investments necessary to compete in the cloud computing era, a number of solution providers are looking to be acquired. Brown sees continued consolidation into 2013. "Every week I get two to three companies that come to us that are looking to be acquired," he said.
"Capital is still constrained," said Brown. "There are a lot of people in the room today having trouble with their credit lines. How are they going to fund this [cloud computing investment]?"