Artisoft closes OZ office - turns to distributors

Artisoft closes OZ office - turns to distributors

Network software vendor Artisoft is looking to its distributors to service its local resellers following the closure of its Australian office.

The bulk of that responsibility is likely to fall on the shoulders of Brisbane-based Digital Solutions, which has been an Artisoft distributor since before the office's opening in 1991. Tech Pacific and Marketing Results also distribute the Artisoft range, but focus on time and place, and retail distribution respectively.

According to Al Ochoa, Artisoft's senior director of international market development, the vendor is currently going through a period of restructuring that has also seen it close offices in Europe, Canada and Mexico.

"We're actually rolling back to the way we used to work with Australian backup until 1991, where we had a value-added distribution model with Digital Solutions," said Ochoa.

Where the Australian office was providing technical and marketing support to distributors, that function will now be handled out of the US, with Digital Solutions also to provide a heightened level of support to resellers.

There will also be a greater emphasis on Web-based communications, with Artisoft to put in place mechanisms for Australian resellers to communicate directly with the US office electronically.

"My biggest issue in the transition is to make sure that channel feels no change, or as little change as possible on the support side," said Ochoa. "It's never a comforting thing to do - I'd rather open offices than close them. But this stuff happens.

"The reason for the restructuring is we don't want to disappear.

"We're not going to be a $50 million company posting losses, but we'll be a $20 million or $25 million company that will be profitable. While Australia has always been a profitable geography for Artisoft, Ochoa said certain steps still needed to be taken if the company is to move forward. He doesn't believe the closure will result in a drop in revenue.

"I'm sure there's going to be somebody who's going to say if they don't have local support they're not going to support the product," Ochoa said. "But the support has always been given through the distribution channel. All we're going to do is prime them up to give a higher level of support from their office directly. So I'm hoping we don't lose a whole lot of people."

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