It didn't take long for CHS to follow Ingram's lead and stake its claim in the Australian market, did it?
What is now very apparent is that the big international disties see a critical need to be able to boast global distribution capabilities. This has now seen Ingram and CHS as well as South African giant Datatec establish footholds in Australia.
The big question now is: do the vendors see the same need? Will Hewlett-Packard, which has distribution agreements with both Ingram and CHS in other countries, decide that it wants a global lineup, rather than disparate distributors in each country?
Perhaps we'll get some indication of that when Compaq finally settles on its list of distributors in March. It will be interesting to see how much of a factor the global backing of Ingram and CHS is. One thing is for sure, both ERA and CHA must have firmed dramatically in the betting over who will finish up in the final Compaq lineup.
After all, one has to assume the global distributors are making their international forays for a reason. That must be a terrifying thought for some of the smaller Australian resellers.
It's not surprising that one of the reasons CHA's Roger Bushell gave to ARN as to why the company was selling was because "if we didn't become part of a global organisation then we would have to compete against them".
Anixter's separated business
While globalisation runs rampant in the distribution arena, it was interesting to note how Anixter's network integration business decided not to go for the same worldwide brand, now that it is splitting from the distribution side of the business.
It matters not so much for the new NetStar organisation that it is recognised as being a global company. Rather, it's more important that it has the partnerships in place so that when it is required to work on a global or international project, it can.
That should be heartening to Australia's integration and reseller community, as partnering is not an activity just restricted to the global giants. Of course, it's no easy task for smaller players to tee up international partnerships, but I think it is essential, especially if you want to play in networking. Even SMEs have quite complex networks connecting international branch offices. In this issue, Tim Rosser, sales director of Rosser Communications, explains how there are big savings for customers who use virtual private networks to avoid international telecommunications costs. Of course, the problem is having foreign partners who you can work with to build an international infrastucture. Integrators and resellers need to lean on their suppliers to help them connect with possible partners.
Perhaps that's a service that an innovative global distributor could offer?