Sun-Netscape Alliance brings iPlanet to Australia

Sun-Netscape Alliance brings iPlanet to Australia

After successfully completing the first 100 days of "creativechaos", the electronic commerce alliance between Sun Microsystems andAmerica Online/Netscape (the Sun-Netscape Alliance) has accelerated its activity inthe race to increase its presence in the global provision of Internet-basedbusiness solutions.

Last week, the Alliance became a region and a brand name richer, followingthe simultaneous launch of its Australia-New Zealand operation and theunveiling of its new product brand iPlanet and the portalfor e-commerce planning and implementation.

Underlining its ambition to become the "first one billion dollar 100 percent pure play Internet software company" with the catch-cry "iPlanet: runwith it", the company plans to use its combined expertise to deliverinfrastructure and business-to-business e-commerce solutions totelecommunication, finance and procurement and distribution-relatedmanufacturing clientele.

According to Rob Stewart, managing director of the company's ANZ arm: "TheAlliance represents the consolidated expertise and resources of threecompanies which have each played enormous roles in shaping and driving thegrowth and worldwide adoption of the Internet."

Since its formation in March, the Sun-Netscape Alliance is said to have"significantly exceeded" its revenue targets, signing over 300 customersworldwide.

Although he was unable to disclose exact figures, Stewart revealed prior tothe official launch the local arm of the Alliance also delivered better thanexpected results through the involvement in contracts such as the EDS-ATOoutsourcing deal. "We have exceeded our target by 10 per cent, " he said, indicating that "thewillingness of the local market" could see the local operation generateanywhere between 4 and 8 per cent of the Alliance's global revenue.

And while the involvement of the channel in the Alliance's US operation islikely to be token, the 100 per cent channel model and a strong marketdemand should enable local resellers to share in the battle spoils,following the launch of a new channel program within the next six weeks.

"[The program will be] architected to provide systems integrators and valueadded resellers with all of the content tools, communication training andincentives they will need to successfully deliver end-to-end e-commercesolutions," Stewart revealed.

Currently in the process of interviewing its partner base, the Alliance willstructure its channel around the two tier lower end model, which willinvolve current distributors and local resellers, and the one tier high-endmodel involving vertically focused systems integrators that are to beselected over the next six months..

"When it comes to providing our customers with the necessary infrastructure,the existing channels focused on Netscape products will continue todistribute those products at the low end, as they deliver best service inthat particular segment," Stewart explained.

"At the high end, however, our clients are demanding investment in highlyskilled systems integrators, which is the reason we are moving into thecertification program. We expect to enable between four and eight certifiedpartners in Australia and New Zealand and grow from that base of success,"he said. The Alliance has already signed five global business-to-businesspartner agreements with the likes of Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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