FTP Software is set to significantly expand its operations in Australia, by increasing its marketing commitment to the area in the short term and establishing a local office in the long term.
Vice-president of product marketing, David Rosenlund, said his company is looking to immediately hire two people locally to get things off the ground, and pave the way to establishing a local office by the year's end. In the meantime it will ramp up its efforts through its two local distribution partners, i.t. connXions and ProVision. "We're spending a disproportionately high amount of marketing dollars here in Australia this year because we think there's a huge opportunity to develop that reseller base in Australia," said Rosenlund.
Australia is currently FTP's third largest revenue region, said Rosenlund, with the company holding around 15 per cent of the Australian market. "It's healthy, but we'd like to grow that significantly, because according to IDC's figures, on a worldwide basis we have about 30 per cent marketshare for PCs running TCP/IP. So obviously we'd like to see the Australian market come up to more like that 30 per cent."
While Rosenlund is happy with the work of FTP's two distribution partners, he admits a better model for servicing Australia exists. "We have two good distribution partners today, but those distribution partners can only be as good as we enable them, and trying to enable them from Singapore, while it's a good thing, it's not an ideal thing."
Part of the drive for an increased presence is the changing nature of the TCP/IP opportunity, said Rosenlund. "We've seen our business change over the last five years from one of people buying five or 10 copies of TCP/IP for their PCs, to companies making corporate-wide decisions about standardising on an IP solution for their network. As that's occurred, the kind of opportunities that our resellers are finding are much larger than the ones that they've had historically."
As a means of propagating its TCP/IP vision, FTP has also recently entered a partnership with IBM to develop its IP communication technologies. Rosenlund said such relationships are essential if FTP is to promote its message out into the marketplace - especially its notion of virtual IP networking. "No one to date has questioned the viability of the virtual IP idea,'" he said. "What they have questioned is FTP's ability as a $100,000 software company to have a large enough megaphone to get the word out."
While the exact terms of the deal are yet to be finalised, Rosenlund said it will not lead to a situation of FTP resellers selling against IBM resellers. "We're not going to bypass our current sales organisation. There will be a role for both organisations, and when the products are announced I think it will become a little clearer on how that will work," he said.
Likewise, Rosenlund is not concerned by Microsoft's move towards bundling a TCP/IP stack with its operating systems. In much the same way as Artisoft, which has enhanced and expanded its peer-to-peer networking products, Rosenlund says FTP has elevated its products above and beyond Microsoft's offerings.
"If you look at FTP a year ago, FTP was a one product company where we had a competitive solution to what Microsoft was offering. If you look at our product line today we have a multi-product offering; we have some products that are competitive with Microsoft's, and many others that run in a complimentary fashion to what Microsoft is offering. So in some cases it will be fine with us if someone decides they're going to use the IP that comes with a workstation, but if they need the Telnet or FTP capability that they're not going to see from Microsoft they should come to us."
Rosenlund said there will always be a sig- nificant opportunity in environments where use of IP is mission-critical. "Once you get beyond establishing the Web browser to Web server connection, there's a whole lot of other work out there that Microsoft's solution doesn't service particularly well right now."