Market Segments with Growth Potential in 2009By Pedro Pereira | Print
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Even banking has the potential to bring opportunity to solution providers in the coming year. Also look for growth in legal services, the environment and some areas of health care.pagebreak=Health Care Is Tricky}
Health care: This is a tricky one. The extent of the opportunity in health care will have a correlation to new regulations by the new administration, much like the environment and taxation. Whatever the new administration does, it is likely to push a stronger emphasis on electronic records, which would translate to work for solution providers in the form of application development and deployment, as well as the necessary security, hardware and networking equipment.
But an economic effect is at play in this category as well: Job cuts and attempts by state government to control costs will have a negative effect on the health care business. With job cuts, come the termination of health benefits, and at least for a time, it is quite likely that some people will do without insurance because they can't afford it, which will translate to a reduction in revenue for some health care-related businesses. And as states look to balance their budgets in a time of economic stress, they will reduce funding to hospitals and other health care facilities.
So I would call health care a toss-up, at least for now. Depending on which part of the health care system you focus on, you may or may not see increased opportunities.
Local banking: While it may seem counterintuitive, opportunities still exist in the banking category. Solution providers with a strong focus on local small businesses might find decent opportunities with local banks and credit unions. Scared off by large banking institutions, a lot of people are likely to switch their banking needs to smaller local counterparts.
As that happens, the need for IT services and products in these institutions will grow, and no one will be better positioned to deliver them than solution providers. One company stepping up marketing efforts to local banking institutions is MasterIT, a managed services provider in Bartlett, Tenn., and its efforts have started to pay off, according to CEO President Michael Drake.
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Construction: This is another dubious prospect, on the surface. With the housing market grounding to a halt, it's hard to imagine construction producing any kind of opportunity any time soon.
But, once again, if the new administration follows through on plans to create jobs for a massive public works project to improve the country's infrastructure, opportunity for IT services and products will follow.
Admittedly, some hurdles must be conquered for this to actually happen, and whatever opportunity comes out of such a plan will be slow in the making. So while I still believe the opportunity is real, with caveats, it isn't likely to happen until later in 2009 or beyond. Still, I encourage solution providers to keep their eye on developments here.
Pedro Pereira is a contributing editor for Channel Insider.