SYDNEY - Buoyed by the success of its NT-based LantraServer remote access server, connectivity specialist Stallion Technologies is bolstering its Australian operations with a new sales office in Sydney.
According to Mark Calkins, senior vice-president for worldwide sales, Stallion's Brisbane office will remain the centre of Australian operations, but as most of its distributors are based in Sydney they can be better supported with a local office.
"Australia and Asia represent 25 per cent of Stallion's worldwide revenue, so it is an extremely important market," said Calkins. "Talking to our distributors and looking at the figures, NSW represents about 47 to 53 per cent of our reseller sales. We found that our people in Brisbane were flying in to visit and work with the resellers in NSW. By the time they came back and finished up all the action items, they needed to fly back to NSW again."
Stallion will maintain its engineering and development centres in Brisbane, along with national support and its worldwide escalation centre.
Calkins said the Sydney office, due to open later this month, will play an important role in building VAR expertise in the Windows NT market, as it establishes itself and its LantraServer products outside its traditional Unix environment. Microsoft's Certified Network Resellers will be a focus.
"We're going to have to introduce ourselves to many new VARs, and also help educate our existing VARs about how they integrate the Windows clients into their Unix environment through remote access," said Calkins. "So we really need to be there to work with them and help them." While Stallion is heavily involved in developing products for the NT environment, Calkins says in no way has its commitment to Unix diminished.
"It's a delicate balance," he said. "We've been supporting Unix operating systems and products for 12 years. We know how to do it very well, and we continue to have in our product support and development cycle upgrades for those products."
Calkins says this commitment is reflected by the fact that by September this year Stallion will have upgraded all of its mainstream Unix products. "It's easy to make promises, but what you do is what makes a difference."
As for its attack on the NT marketplace, Calkins says the LantraServer has been designed to get up and running as simply as possible, through leveraging NT's built-in Remote Access Services. "It directly supports the client tools that come in Windows 95 in terms of dial-up networking - you don't have to install anything on the Windows 95 client to become part of the network using our remote access server."
"That leverages the investment the VAR has already made, not NT," said Calkins. "We're not asking them to become Stallion experts; we're trying to reinforce the commitment and the decisions that they have already made in the Microsoft computing platform."
He says the target market for LantraServer is users operating Windows 95 clients and an NT server as the main communications server. "And there is a large piece of the market that's there today or is moving there very rapidly."
To increase the penetration of the LantraServer into the NT connectivity space, Stallion is launching a communication and evaluation program based around the product.
Within the next week Stallion will launch a direct mail campaign offering interested VARs a LantraServer unit for evaluation. At the end of the evaluation Stallion will give resellers $100 cash back if they'll answer some questions about the experience.
"We're not attempting to bribe them," said Calkins, "because $100 isn't that great a bribe for someone's time. But it's our way of saying 'we're behind this, we're committed, and we're willing to put our money behind our product claim that this is the simplest remote access server you've configured'."
Should resellers wish to take on the product, Stallion will then sell them the first unit at a heavily discounted price. Calkins said the aim is to show resellers how easy the LantraServers are to install by letting them get their hands on one relatively easily.
"It's a product that if you have an NT LAN up and running, you can go in to your end users and have the remote access server up and running in less than five minutes," he said. "That is a very boastful claim to make, so what we need to do is demonstrate to the VARs that that is in fact true, and that does fit within their environment. "Should interested resellers not receive the direct mail invitation they can call Stallion directly on Tel (07) 3270 4244.