Powerlan is set to become one of the first IT resellers to successfully evolve into a services-dominated business and list on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Theo Baker, Powerlan's CEO, confirmed last week the company is waiting for final approval of its IPO (Initial Public Offering) as part of its aggressive push to become an international IT channel services company.
News of Powerlan's IPO follows the recent appointment of former NSW Premier Neville Wran to the company board.
Wran meets with Powerlan on a weekly basis to provide advice on legal requirements, compliancy issues and strategic objectives.
However, Baker remains cautious about the IPO plans. "Until we get a sign-off on the prospectus [from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission] and get an underwriting agreement it could all fall apart," he said.
The move underscores what Baker believes is a "bright future" for resellers in services-based businesses. "Resellers need to transition their business away from product," he said.
The services component of Powerlan's business now accounts for more than 60 per cent of revenues, after moving out of the product-only sphere over two years ago. "I certainly don't categorise us as a reseller," Baker said.
Baker believes the company's segmentation into separate e-commerce, procurement, training, IT career, support and outtasking services is one of the reasons why it retains strong growth prospects.
"We anticipate we will do a touch under $100 million in revenues by the end of financial year 2000," he said.
Part of the company's growth plans also includes the creation of its online shop at http://www.powerlan.com.au.
The company is currently directing existing customers to use the site before marketing it to potential customers.
Meanwhile, Baker offered some advice to growing number of vendors moving to direct selling. "I think vendors have underestimated the demand customers put on resellers," he explained.
Baker believes too many vendors still want to walk into a customer's office, sign the deal and walk away. "I think they will be in for a rude shock when it comes to managing those relationships," he said.