You know that times are changing in the software business when a 16-person Australian company confidently claims a $6.5 billion North American corporate powerhouse as its reseller.
You also know that the convergence is real when that multibillion dollar powerhouse modestly acknowledges its newly discovered role as a reseller and starts praising solutions developed by a group of programming enthusiasts living somewhere on the banks of the Yarra River. And why wouldn't they?
Both Melbourne-based Surefire and NCR's Retail Solutions Group have found the concept works well. Together, the Australian retail software specialist and NCR have won five contracts since October last year.
Last week, Surefire's NT-based, real-time software solution built in Delphi, ushered the partnership into the final stages of a deal with the paint manufacturer and retailer Taubmans. Priceline One and the Reject Shop were among those who bought the Surefire/NCR solution, while the Body Shop benefited from NCR's partnership with another Aussie developer, Retail Directions Group (see ARN, March 31, page 30).
Paul Mitchell, NCR's general manager for marketing, Retail Solutions Group Asia Pacific, says while their partnerships allows the local developers to reach NCR's tier-one clients, it is on the back of houses such as Surefire that NCR rides into the tier two and three of the retail solutions market.
"Some of our corporate solutions might not be suited to the Australian marketplace and our partners dev-elop software that takes into account all the local factors," Mitchell explained.
Surefire's sales and marketing director, Dale Corrigan, agreed. "It's a win-win situation," he said. "We are in the position where we're able to focus on development, while NCR provides us with marketing resources that we, as a small company, would not have access to otherwise." Corrigan believes his company's agility and its ability to come up with a specialised solution quickly is what makes Surefire a good "vendor". Conversely, NCR's willingness to play reseller has made the role reversal a perfect exercise.
"This partnership has taken us to areas that we just wouldn't get into if it wasn't for NCR. Obviously, because we'd done a good job earlier on, the relationship is now giving us global opportunities."