After a somewhat low-key start in Australia, Motorola Information Systems Group (ISG) has embarked on a plan it hopes will significantly increase its exposure.
Although Motorola ISG has been represented directly in Australia for the last eight months, and before that through a distributor, it is only with the recent appointment of an Australian distributor that the company has been prepared to make its presence widely known.
Motorola ISG has two separate product divisions of network systems and transmission products.
Between them they supply a wide range of products, from V.34 and cable modems, PC Card devices and ISDN terminal adaptors through to a range of network access products including Frame Relay devices.
According to Steve Terry, Motorola's country manager for Australia and New Zealand, the low-key start was needed to allow the company to set up the infrastructure it will now use to take it forward.
Part of that infrastructure is a distributor. Rather than appoint an existing distributor with an established reseller base, however, Motorola has decided to allow its New Zealand distributor, Megadyne Communications, the opportunity to expand its operations into Australia. Terry said he approached a number of the bigger Australian distributors six months ago, but various factors made them unsuitable. "We approached all of these people, particularly with our networking products, but I think we were a little late at the time when we did that. Most of these people had already formed their alliances or signed their contracts or agreed to various levels of exclusivity. And they'd committed to this stuff until the end of the year."
At that time Megadyne was already representing Motorola in New Zealand, said Terry. "And in albeit a very small market we were very satisfied with the way they were managing things over there, with the way they were growing their business. And they were very keen to come into the Australian market. At the time I was hesitant, but I spoke in depth with the directors of the company, and we put together a plan indicating that this requires significant investment from them. We set them some tasks, and they met all the criteria we set. They are uncovering some good business, and they are starting to see more happen."
Motorola also distributes through Tech Pacific for time-and-space-type distribution. Terry said that, in the realm of communications carriers, much of the business is handled directly by Motorola, with Telstra having struck an arrangement to rebadge some of Motorola's products. He added, however, that the local operation's limited resources lead to joint exercises with its partners.
While Megadyne has the rights to distribute Motorola's products across Australia, Terry said the licence is not an exclusive one, and that he will consider other business proposals. "An interesting thing now is we're finding a number of people coming back to us and saying they are interested. Motorola has a global indirect strategy. What we generally look for is one huge player in the market, and depending on the size of that market, we may add two or three players segregated by product mix. By the same token I'm not about to go out and appoint 20 distributors - that's not our policy at all."
Terry said that so far he has been happy with Megadyne's performance. "At the moment they are extremely good with our retail channel; they do an outstanding job with all of our desktop products."
While Motorola is currently looking to appoint resellers in the retail area, Terry said anyone wishing to take on the products at a higher level will require certification. This involves training with the Motorola University for the Motorola Certified Engineer program, as well as being able to satisfy financial and other criteria.
Terry said that the range of products in the Motorola range make the investment worthwhile. "Our products basically do a lot of really unique things that no one in the market has ever done before. We were the first with voice over frame, which we patented as Voice Relay. Our multiprotocol routers are true multiprotocol.
"We have a range of products that has been extremely successful elsewhere in the world, from both of our product streams, and we have seen a lot of major global players go over to Motorola products. As a result we are seeing the corporate market in Australia say this Frame Relay thing is pretty serious stuff. We have seen the carriers position themselves for that as well as a number of service providers and value added network providers. And given that we have the right products, I think the time is right."