We are used to the idea of vendors setting up shop and then appointing distributors and resellers. The Paradigm Agency follows a more unusual model in acting as a virtual subsidiary for overseas-based companies.
Right now, it has just one vendor on its books - McAfee, the network management and antivirus software developer. While that precludes Paradigm from taking on another company - it has had more than several in the past - it could do so in the future. Those past vendors include Adobe, X-Tree and Fifth Generation Software.
"It's inevitable we will lose McAfee some time when it sets up in its own right here. But for now, Paradigm is acting as a virtual vendor," explained Glenn Miller, Paradigm's joint managing director.
"The model under which we are operating will reach its use-by date," said Miller. "And that's the way it should be. When it happens we'll walk away from each other the best of friends." The idea of operating as a virtual vendor came to Miller and David Lewis, joint managing director, when they were working at Ashton-Tate.
"We saw there was a need for a manufacturer's agent," said Miller. "In much the same way other industries such as fashion have manufacturers' agents, we do the marketing and business development, and leave the distribution to three specialist distributors," he said.
"Tech Pacific handles larger resellers. Marketing Results specialises in servicing the retail end of the channel, and Q*Soft looks after smaller resellers."
Miller said he was surprised more vendors had not adopted the Paradigm model in setting up operations in Australia.
"They typically look for a distributor," he said. "Distributors specialise in distribution - it's their core competency.
"What the vendor needs is someone to look after marketing and business development. And that's the model we've followed."
Contractual commitments between Paradigm and McAfee are unlikely to see the two part in the near term.
"When it does happen we'll just have to find another McAfee," said Miller.