Alstom IT received a boost to its e-commerce ambitions last week after it was appointed the sole distributor to the reseller channel in Australia by Internet software manufacturer the Sun-Netscape Alliance.
The Alliance also appointed New Zealand-based Solnet to exclusively distribute its iPlanet solutions throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Alstom IT's chief executive, Laurie Sellers, said the company is trying to equip resellers with the tools they would need to take advantage of the growth in e-commerce sites. "Most people would agree there's massive interest in the development or redevelopment of e-commerce sites."
He believes most of the commercial Internet sites which will be in use in the next 12 to 24 months are not yet being built, and the result will be a massive demand for products such as those manufactured by the Sun-Netscape Alliance.
Alstom IT has established a Sun-Netscape training centre for resellers and customers, which will provide training support for Australasia.
"We've already trained quite a number of people and we have scheduled courses covering each of the main modules," Sellers said.
Between now and the end of November, Alstom IT is carrying out a number of training courses which Sellers said were virtually all booked out. A team of trainers from the Sun-Netscape Alliance in the US is working with Alstom IT in running the courses. "We were very fortunate to get them because they were hotly in demand from around the world," he said.
Commenting on the company's appointment as sole distributor, Sellers said: "The partnership means that we can now offer our customers the very best end-to-end e-commerce solutions. We will be targeting resellers that have strong relationships with large corporations who are focusing on e-commerce."
According to Sellers, supporting the Alliance was a natural decision because Alstom IT already had a strategic relationship with both Sun Microsystems and Netscape Communications.
Rob Stewart, Sun-Netscape Alliance managing director, Australia/New Zealand, said that Alstom IT's success in providing high-end server solutions and introducing new technologies to its business partners made it an ideal choice. "The appointment of Alstom IT is a key element of the Alliance's strategy and success in developing its indirect business and partnership strategy across the Asia-Pacific region."
Stewart said that because it now had a far more complex set of products, it realised quickly that it needed to build a relationship with the channel that had an ability to grow. "It was important to us that we had a channel that was prepared to invest fully in the technology and establish a training and support capability and processes to strongly recruit and grow new partners," Stewart said.
President and general manager of the Alliance, Mark Tolliver, said the group is experiencing rapid growth worldwide, with the Asia-Pacific region the fastest-growing market in terms of Internet adoption, IT spending and e-commerce acceptance.
"Analysts are predicting that by 2003 the Asia-Pacific e-commerce market will exceed $32 billion, with Australia and New Zealand leading the pack," Tolliver said.