HP's largest reseller is kicking off an aggressive market expansion effort through the introduction of new and improved online services.
Jon Johnston, managing director of Centari Systems, informed ARN last week the company is on target to achieve a near 40 per cent growth in turnover in the 1998-99 financial year which would see revenues topping $70 million. Most of Centari's income is earned in the medium-to-large end of the spectrum, Johnston said, but it is set to change with the help of the Web.
"There are two initiatives on the online front," Johnston said. "One is to get the smaller customers and the other is to get the really big ones. We will still be selling business products, but it will deliver a new range of potential customers that are a little further downstream from where we are at the moment."
Johnston said a lot of the mainstream IT infrastructure products in which Centari has developed expertise are now in strong demand from small-to-medium enterprises. He is confident he can utilise that maturity in conjunction with the Internet to build an efficient method of supplying and servicing what is potentially a huge marketplace for Centari.
Meanwhile, the very biggest customers are also in Centari's firing line. As it leverages off a new centralised engineering support help desk and with its SQL 7.0-based database forming the back end of the new Web venture, Centari hopes to demonstrate a capacity to provide even the largest of solutions.
"It is a new focus and there will be new programs for placing and checking orders. We will be doing some different things to get at those customers," Johnston said.
"We will also use telemarketing as a support tool and we have a fair amount of inbound traffic from HP, referrals from trade shows and things like the Yellow Pages. Giving them and referring them to a Web site is an efficient way to support them."
Emphasising the effort the reseller has put into improving the services they offer, Centari has moved to centralise its help desk operations into one call centre in Sydney. This will help it guarantee customers a consistency of service across geographical regions, Johnston claimed.
"It is all about economies of scale and effi- ciency issues," he said. "We can handle a higher number of calls with less resources. We want to be able to supply the best support for our customers and marketing efforts."
Other market initiatives Centari is developing include marketing HP's home computer range to the employees of its customers and increased activity with remarketed HP products.
These are new HP products that are returned as DOAs or for other reasons before being repaired where necessary, refurbished and sold as second-hand computers.