Ingram Micro is going to have to usher in a new level of value-added distribution servicing to the Australian channel before it will be able to entice resellers away from current supply lines.
It would seem, despite reservations about what this means for the future of Australia's local IT industry, that most resellers are prepared to give the new big gun in town a fair chance if it can provide the right service and offerings.
"It all comes down to the service you can get," said David Hunter, managing director at Adelaide's RD Computer Services.
Most resellers seemed happy with services received from local or specialty suppliers but do look forward to the prospect of someone challenging Tech Pacific's dominance at the top of the chain.
"Even though Tech Pac's services are pretty good, a bit of healthy competition from suppliers is always good for a business like mine," said Phil O'Brien, managing director of Plexus Computing in Launceston.
Geoff Moller, managing director of Computer Systems in Buddina, Queensland, lamented the move away from local distributorships but claimed service is the deciding factor.
"I am all for Australian-based distributors and fully support development of the local industry," he said.
"But we have dealt with Ingram subsidiary ITG in the past and if its standards remain at a high level, we will definitely continue dealing with them."
Sentiment would indicate, however, that the broad diversity and geographic spread of the Australian market probably relegates any one-stop distribution shop aspirations of Ingram to the category of pipe dreams.
Neil Hancock, managing director of Perth's Portacom, said he deals with local operators wherever possible. He envisaged the acquisition posing a threat to some larger national companies, though. "I think it might result in some major reshuffling in Australian distribution which could result in less suppliers," Hancock said. He balanced that statement though by adding there might be too many distributors anyway.
As a part-time solutions provider and software supporter, Ray Georgio of Perseus Systems said he would always prefer to deal with a local distributor for the personal relationship. He feels there will always be a place for them "catering to my sort of business which does a little bit of everything, but not a lot of anything".
Better for Australian customers
Ian Davies, managing director of Sydney developer Odyssey Development, feels local companies are better for Australian customers. "Global companies see Australia as just 2 per cent of the whole picture. For Australian companies, the Australian market obviously involves a much greater commitment," Davies said.
Mike Gardiner, managing director of Gardiner Technology in Howlong, NSW, pondered the bigger picture.
"My concerns stem more from a personal belief in developing our own industry. It seems we are selling out Australia and I would rather see good Australian companies like ITG staying where they are," Gardiner said.