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After the mess caused by financial institutions this year, it would
seem counterintuitive to tag banking as an area of potential growth in
the coming year. You also would be forgiven for dismissing construction
as a decent prospect, considering the sorry state of the housing market.

But in either case, I sense there is reason for hope. So I will go out
on a limb and discourage solution providers from dismissing these
vertical markets as they look for growth opportunities in 2009.

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You might be more gung-ho about health care because conventional wisdom
holds that it will continue to grow in 2009. But I say not so fast, for
reasons I will explain shortly.

Areas in which we all might be in agreement, however, would include the
legal profession, energy and anything related to the environment and
climate change.

Solution providers looking for profitable vertical markets would do
well to sharpen their focus on customers they already have in these
markets, and to concentrate customer recruitment efforts in these areas
as well.

Let’s deal first with the areas on which we are likely to agree:

Legal Services: Is there ever a time when lawyers don’t benefit? Even
if there weren’t enough legal work, lawyers could always fall back on
politics, get themselves elected and then create more laws to keep
attorneys in business.

With a new administration in the White House, we may see a slew of new
regulations in a range of areas, including taxation, health care,
banking and the environment. This won’t all happen in one day, mind
you, but one thing is certain: All of these areas will require armies
of lawyers to help write new laws and regulations, and to ensure
compliance.

New regulations will necessitate IT systems for enforcement and
compliance, just as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA did some years ago, and
that means the demand for IT services and systems in these areas will
be strong.

Environment: The costs of energy will continue to consume the nation’s
attention, and much thought and effort in 2009, and beyond, will go
into developing alternative sources of energy. If President-Elect
Barack Obama follows through with his plan to spur the creation of
so-called green-collar jobs and investment in research to replace our
dependence on oil, the potential opportunity for solution providers
servicing the energy sector is huge.

But it doesn’t stop there. Technology buyers are becoming pickier about
what products they pay for, so solution providers also stand to benefit
by learning how to sell green IT products and services and developing
practices around business sustainability.

Learn about how EPEAT helps IT resellers get green here.