Australia’s largest computer manufacturer, Optima, has hired channel-veteran, Michael Calculli, as the company’s first channel manager and has outlined plans to take the small business channel by storm.
Optima chief executive officer, Cornel Ung, said Optima was serious about building an IT channel in Australia. “Optima has not had enough of a focus on channel business in the past,” he said.
The company has recently merged the acquired Powerlan BI (systems integration) and Iocom (IT services) businesses in order to penetrate the small business market, but found that its direct sales force struggled to meet the needs of small business customers.
“Optima is great at servicing large customers like Defence,” he said. “But [to date] we have not been so great at servicing thousands of small customers.”
The vendor now plans to deal direct with all Government customers and leave the corporate and small business markets to its emerging dealer channel, Ung said.
The company has recently started formulating its channel structure and marketing plans to attract a wider reseller base. While Optima already deals with several key resellers in regional areas, the PC manufacturer is now aiming to build a reseller base in metropolitan areas (where it previously dealt direct) and among systems integrators.
Initially, the PC vendor will not use distributors and instead deal direct with resellers to maximise dealer margins. “We don’t intend to use distributors – we feel we can get closer to our partners if we service dealers direct,” Ung said. “But that’s not to say that we will never go through a distributor – we might reconsider at a latter date if our circumstances change.”
Ung said Calculli was a good fit for the vendor’s channel plans.
Calculli has been working in the IT channel for over 17 years as both vendors (Acer, Accton) and distributors (Ingram Micro, Imagineering).
“The timing could not have been better in joining Optima,” he said, pointing to IDC’s recent research that placed Optima’s market share at 5.6 per cent, making it the fifth biggest PC vendor in Australia.
“I’m looking forward to working with Optima’s resellers as well as recruiting new channel partners interested in targeting the SMB space," Ung said. "Of the top five vendors, Optima is the only PC manufacturer that is 100 per cent committed to the channel when it comes to the SMB market.”