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Teco seeks white hat resellers

As reported in ARN's February 11 issue, page 4, Teco Australia has established a new division known as Teco Business Software (TBS).

TBS claims to offer a new approach to business software distribution in Australia -- on an OEM basis. Although the arrangement is yet to be finalised with software vendors, plans are well under way.

Teco is looking for the top 10 per cent of tier one and two computer resellers. It wants resellers who will be able to meet the specific needs of the small to medium enterprise (SME) market. These resellers might also operate as a shopfront on a retail basis, but will actively deal with businesses.

Michael Bridges, manager of TBS, said: "like other software distributors, our definition of OEM is the products can only be sold with a new PC. The difference is that it is business application software being bundled with the hardware."

Bridges says this means resellers will be able to offer a complete business solution, including the highest quality business software at a fraction of the normal retail price. "It also means the end users will get the performance they've been promised," he said.

Applications include Symantec's Act!, the integrated database and customer management system; Quick Accounts from Sybiz, an entry level double entry accounting package; and Seagate Crystal Reports, the world's leading Windows-based report writer.

TBS has negotiated special distribution arrangements of OEM versions of these products.

Teco's alliance partners seem to be as excited as Bridges.

Mark Young, sales and marketing director at Sybiz Software, said: "I think the concept is excellent, and is a fresh way of looking at OEM software. OEM arrangements in the past have been in concert with specific hardware vendors. Teco has similar objectives to ours in its choice of channel partners." He also said Sybiz already has some synergy with Seagate and Symantec. Sybiz's flagship product, Vision, generates reports using Crystal Reports and integration with ACT!. It is currently under development.

Money to be made

According to channel manager for Seagate Software, Fred King: "in Australia particularly, there is a huge number of small to medium businesses that need value-packed business software. Teco's proposal is unique in promising to fill this need with a best of class software package at a low entry point. Seagate Crystal Reports Standard is a world class reporting tool, perfectly suited to small to medium business situations."

Bridges described the distribution arrangement as "a business focused model that has IT and communications as its product. Our profit will be made by helping our reseller group create wealth. We will make a margin on the software we turn over, and a significant part of our profits will be channelled back into resources for the resellers," he said.

Six hundred resellers wanted . . .

Teco is looking to sign up 600 resellers, but they must meet certain criteria and there will be mutual obligations in the agreement. Bridges listed the qualifying requirements. "They will be selling at least 15 systems per month, have a significant business component to their customer list, have five or more staff including dedicated sales and technical support, have been in business for more than two years and have some type of business oriented background," he said.

Bridges claims sales leads will be generated both by referrals from enquiries to the software suppliers, and Teco Business Software marketing activities.

Although he did not want to expand on currently planned marketing activities, he said it was important their resellers maintain a balance between new business activity and account management.

Teco will begin by inviting 200 selected Sybiz resellers to become authorised Teco Business Software resellers, and they will be offered training on the other products in the mix.

"We are going to relieve resellers of a lot of pressure by providing strategic information, which will offer the best decision paths," Bridges concluded.

Teco

Tel (02) 9765 8118ÊFax (02) 9604 9330

Why is it so?

Lawrence Glynn, proprietor of assembler, wholesaler and reseller Sage Advice, wrote to ARN in response to the first OEM section published in the February 4, 1998 issueDear ARN,As a small-scale OEM, one of my main hassles is cases. Just when I find a case which accommodates a reasonable collection of peripherals (drives mainly), does not rattle and flex, looks OK and is easy to assemble, its production is discontinued. Often, the reason given is "too expensive, did not sell" when the price difference over inferior cases is 10 dollars or less.

The current crop of ATX medium tower cases seem universally designed to need at least two people to assemble the motherboard into the case. They also require complete dismantling -- starting with the case badge -- for field service. This is hopeless.

Many case vendors send out nice colour brochures showing some excellent designs. The price list rarely includes the products in the brochures, and never those which stand a chance of being acceptable.

The disparity between brochures and price lists is not confined to case vendors. It happens across the spectrum. One cannot help but wonder why suppliers waste money distributing information on products that their sales representatives know nothing about.

Another problem is CPU cooling fans. Intel ships a fan with all its CPUs, except the very high volume tray version. But IBM/Cyrix and AMD do not. The price of CPU fans seems to have no relation to their durability. How frustrating it is to make service calls under warranty to replace yet another jammed CPU fan.

This brings me to bug number three.

Will anyone ever get around to building a PC case with a cooling fan which sucks from the back (through a filter) and exhausts around the sides and front? Why not use vacuum cleaner technology, where the filter whistles when choked. Doing this would eliminate so many reliability hassles, and is standard electronics enclosure practice.

Finally, as an OEM and reseller, can anyone tell me why OEM software should not be available in the same format and at the same low price when not sold with a new PC? Of course it happens because compliance checks are virtually zero -- so why not?

Australian agent seeking distributors

MyTronics, the Australian agent for Micronics and its subsidiary, Orchid, has extended its representative range to include PortaSoft Corporation and Song Cheer Group.

Managing director of MyTronics, Adrian Horin, told ARN he'd like to hear from potential distributors or resellers interested in products from any of these vendors.

"Micronics is renowned for its PC motherboard technology. Its motherboards support processors from Intel, AMD and Cyrix. The range includes single and multiple processors including Pentium, Pentium Pro and Pentium II processors," he said.

Current models include the Twister AT & ATX, Cyclone (NLX format) Dual Fortress, Tigercat and Spitfire. Micronics recently announced four system boards that support Intel's 333MHz Pentium II processor.

The Australian distributor for the Micronics products is Q*Soft.

Micronics' subsidiary, Orchid Technology, has announced the Righteous 3D II graphics card that utilises the 3DFx Interactive Voodoo chipset. This game card sits alongside the standard graphics card in its own PCI slot. It takes over from the VGA card as soon as a 3D-application driver is enabled.

According to Horin, the Righteous 3D II card is expected to ship between March and June.

The Australian distributors are Q*Soft Australia, Jatara Computers (Melbourne) and Intelligent Printing Systems (Sydney).

New to the MyTronics' stable is PortaSoft Corporation, a software manufacturer whose products include DNS Pro and NT Expert Probe. The DNS Pro is claimed to be one of the easiest and fully featured Domain Name Servers available for NT or Unix. Horin said: "The NT Expert Probe takes remote NT diagnostics to another level in that it provides an e-mail service daily to network administrators advising of NT errors and hardware or software changes that may have taken place."

Song Cheer Group (or Sun Cheer in the USA) is a Taiwanese chassis and power supply manufacturer whose products are claimed to be used by ALR-Gateway 2000, Optimus, Dell, Fujitsu-(ICL) and Hewlett-Packard.

Distributors, especially for PortaSoft and Song Cheer, are sought.

MyTronics

Tel (03) 9408 7068ÊFax (03) 9408 8555

adrianh@micronics.com

or adrianh@portasoft.com

Hitachi claims its own niche

Late last year, Hitachi Australia announced the availability of its latest desktop monitor, the 19in CM751.

This model is based on Hitachi's own CRT technology and features a unique 19in tube. It is said to be "a whole new market niche, providing budget-conscious CAD, DTP and power desktop users with a reasonable alternative to 21in monitors" according to Bernard Kotarski, general manager sales and marketing at Hitachi Australia.

Kotarski added that although it will not replace 21in monitors he was excited about the opportunities in the "new 19in market". While it is said to be 1in bigger in all external dimensions than a typical 17in, it is 3in shorter and narrower than a typical 21in, with 4in less depth on the desktop.

According to another Hitachi spokesperson, the OEM business for Hitachi's 19in CRT has been substantial, and the emerging 19in class is gathering popularity with monitor and computer vendors.

"Being the inventor of the 19in CRT, Hitachi currently owns the 19in market," he said.

Creative sounds out Ensoniq

Electric Factory, Ensoniq's Australian and New Zealand distributor, says it's "business as usual", following the announced acquisition of the audio technology specialist by Creative Technology.

Doug Browne, digital products manager for the Electric Factory, said: "We can expect new products out of Ensoniq far quicker than ever before."

The acquisition by Creative extends its reach in the PCI audio segment of the PC OEM and PC motherboard markets. Ensoniq's AudioPCI sound boards are said to be used in many of the top OEM PCs.

Electric Factory

Tel (03) 9480 5988

Fax (03) 9484 6708

ARN's OEM section has already generated quite a response, and it is clear that there are many issues of concern and interest to those in the IT channel who have a particular focus on OEM.

Anyone with information on new products, marketing strategies or even distribution arrangements should contact Tom Allen on (02) 9902 2770 or tom_allen@idg.com.au to discuss the details.


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