Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

VARs see opportunity in voice over IP and managed services, but customers say the technologies remain far down on their list of anticipated spending priorities.

Customers say they will spend money in 2007 on network security, wireless networks, storage solutions, and education and training for their users.

There is a gap forming between VAR perceptions of opportunity and customer reality, according to a recent survey on channel opportunity and anticipated customer spending in the coming year conducted for CompTIA by research firm TNS Prognostics.

“There is a disconnect between where VARs see opportunity and where customers say they’re spending money,” said Steve Ostrowski, CompTIA’s corporate public relations manager. “The VOIP really stuck out. We have VARs saying it’s top of mind and customers saying it’s at the bottom of the list.”

Pointer Click here for a list of the Top 5 growth areas identified by VARs.

According to the TNS survey, 62 percent of VARs identified VOIP as an area in which they expect sales growth in 2007, with 13 percent saying they expect at least 40 percent growth. VOIP, meanwhile, ranked No. 9 on the list of customer spending priorities in the coming year, with only 20 percent anticipating spending more on the technology.

The study, which examines the transition of VARs from resellers to service providers, as well as staff trends, marketing strategies, end-user trends, sweet spots in the market and more, is designed to help VARs penetrate the market and take advantage of trends and emerging technologies. Full results will be released Aug. 3 at CompTIA’s Breakaway convention for resellers in Orlando, Fla.

Thirteen percent of VARs also said they expect to see at least a 40 percent growth in managed services, with 68 percent said they expect to see at least 10 percent growth, but the highly touted category ranked just 13th on the customer survey. Only 11 percent of businesses said they would spend more in 2007 on managed services.

Pointer Click here for a list of the Top 5 growth areas identified by customers.

Network security will take the top share of the spending pie, customers said. Forty-eight percent said they will increase their spending on the technology. Twelve percent of VARs expect their network security business to grow at least 40 percent, with 65 percent saying it will rise at least 10 percent.

Wireless networks, storage solutions, and education and training for users each were cited by about 40 percent of respondents as being priorities for increased spending.

Most of the customer respondents, 29 percent, were large SMBs (small and midsize businesses)—500 to 999 employees.