Energy efficiency and the green agenda are the main reasons increasing demand for virtualisation technologies in South Africa, according to 79% of channel partners in a survey conducted by Citrix Systems. 

Over 40 % of the respondents believe that customers will continuously demand some aspect of virtualisation in their IT infrastructure in 2008. Its potential for revenue growth is significant with over half of channel partners having been selling virtualisation solutions for less than two years.
Buoyancy for virtualisation technologies presents an opportunity in the face of the current economic recession, with 45 % of partners revealing they have experienced cut backs in average IT spending in the past few months and a further 24 percent have experienced a slowdown in customer enquiries.
"The virtualisation market in South Africa presents so many opportunities for our new and existing channel partners, not least because of the direct energy efficiency benefits it can deliver,” says Nick Keene, country manager of Citrix Southern Africa. “We recognise the support that our channel partners need and have introduced reward and training programmes to provide the budgetary and training investments required."
According to Citrix’s channel partners who completed the survey at its recent Partner Exchange events, the three main issues that their customers are facing are:
* Making IT more efficient;
* Managing server and storage challenges; and
* Delivering applications to employees.
Financial services and local government sectors present the biggest growth opportunity to the channel base. The respondents are proactively investing in customer relationships with key decision makers and increasing their focus on specific technology areas to reflect the growth opportunity in these markets.
In fact, 62% of Citrix’s channel partners are already engaged with CIO-level or strategic decision makers – with 35% believing that the level of interaction has increased in seniority since 2007.
With regards to support from vendors, channel partners appreciate training, case incentives, lead generation and marketing support the most.