Harvey Norman ramps up SME focus

Harvey Norman ramps up SME focus

Harvey Norman’s Commercial Technology division in Sydney’s western suburbs is renewing its focus on SME sales and services, signing fledgling services company, Avante IT, to provide outsourced technical services to its client base.

Avante, a new company owned by former Brennan IT business development manager Scott Crawford, will fulfil the outsourcing function previously offered by Brennan IT.

Harvey Norman’s Commercial Technology division manager, Chris Wright, said the decision to replace Brennan had come as the division looked to renew its focus on the SME sector.

“The takeup of broadband and the roll out of communications technologies is driving these small businesses to upgrade,” Wright said. The Commercial Technology division had previously focussed heavily on its loyalty programs for clients including Qantas, he said.

Avante will provide services to Harvey Norman clients around networking infrastructure, communications, security and back office applications. The focus will be on companies of between five and 100 seats.

Wright said the new partnership with Avante would probably move away from the service pack model used by Brennan IT.

Scott Crawford used to oversee Brennan IT’s outsourcing arrangement with Harvey Norman’s Commercial Technology when he was business development manager at Brennan IT.

He will now tackle the contract as owner and managing director of Avante IT.

Crawford said he expected to have more success with the Harvey Norman business, because Avante would focus firmly on the SME sector, and would take an account management approach to service provision.

Brennan IT’s focus had been on bigger clients, he said.

Harvey Norman’s retail success had made it the McDonalds of retailing, but the success hadn’t translated on the IT side, Crawford said.

“They want to compete with Harris Technology,” he said.

While active customers of the Commercial Technology division numbered in the hundreds, Wright said the pool of prospective customers was much larger.

The Commercial Technology division is based in the same complex as Harvey Norman’s flagship Computer and Electrical Superstore at Auburn in Sydney’s western suburbs.

“We have thousands of small businesses we’ve either worked with directly or through association with the retail store,” Wright said.

Avante also recently signed a partnership deal with NSW-based security provider, King Security. It will provide IT and Internet services around King’s security services.

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