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Sarah Palin is weighing in on healthcare today, so I figure the topic is fair game – at least from an IT industry perspective.

Bottom line, vertical expertise in markets such as healthcare is in demand today and a valuable asset for the channel to have. Solution providers who hone specific industry skills and speak the vernacular of their customers will differentiate their organization and remain more relevant than the next guy, especially during this recession. Additionally, large IT vendors such as Cisco and Microsoft count on their channel partners to be adept at taking their products and crafting solutions that meet very specific, granular business needs inside a whole host of vertical markets from the many facets of manufacturing to the casino industry to yes, healthcare.

So while Washington frustratingly debates the merits and faults of the current healthcare reform package (and we citizens wait out the results), now might be a perfect time for solution providers to consider launching a practice in this vertical or another.

Healthcare is a complicated, bureaucratic morass of an industry, but it has vast technology needs and they are continuing to grow. The federal government is plunking millions of stimulus money into taking the industry fully digital. The push for all medical records to go online is fueling activity inside the smallest doctor’s offices to the largest metropolitan hospitals. The migration is a major undertaking and requires not only technology skill but an ability to navigate compliance mandates and other regulations. But skills in those areas, while arduous to master, result in larger IT consulting engagements and higher margins for the channel. That’s a good thing.

What vertical markets, including healthcare, are you seeing the most traction in? Has it been worth your investment?