ARN: Which channel partners do you deal with and how long have the associations been going for?
Knowles: We work with a number of companies. One of our original partners is Access One, who worked with us in design and development early on, but whose relationship has changed over time to become more of a supplier.
Spirit Networks, a Canberra-based partner, has been working with us for about two or three years. They were first brought in as consultants.
Daedalus Technologies, another Canberra partner, has also designed some innovative Web-based applications for us.
What made you decide to partner with these organisations?
Because we're such a small company - which has grown to about 30 people - partnerships with other companies have been absolutely necessary. We needed companies that could help us get there faster. We couldn't afford to employ the skills just for a particular task so we brought in partners.
We have partnered with organisations that possess solid operating systems knowledge and offer Internet delivery and networking skills. Recently partners also have been used for applications development.
Have these partners lived up to your expectations?
I believe our partners have met our expectations and in some cases exceeded them. There've been times when we were looking for help or guidance and they've given us inspiration.
Success breeds its own problems and in many cases it's the sheer growth of the company. So the difficulty is growing the business without affecting or impacting what we're doing now. The smooth advance of our infrastructure is the key and that's where partners are important.
What are your impressions of the broader integration market?
If you look hard enough for good people you'll find them.
Are you quite happy to stick with the partners you currently deal with now or will you pick and choose depending on the project at hand?
We are happy with our current partners but as new things come up we'll look for new companies that can deliver faster solutions than we can do in-house and for less expense.
A lot has been said in the channel about value-added services. Have your partners been effective in providing special initiatives?
It's hard to say because we deal with these companies for such specific requirements. At the moment Spirit Networks is looking at ways of avoiding routing difficulties and traffic restrictions for us.
It's more of a mutual development process. Often we don't know if an idea's possible so we'll sit around a whiteboard and discuss it. Sometimes not only have they said an idea was possible but said they can do it next week.
Health Communication Network:
Canberra-based HCN specialises in the development of communications solutions for the health sector and the provision of health information via the Internet. The organisation recently started gearing up its capacity to roll out integrated Web-based networking solutions for medical centres and practices across the country.