Perth-based value-added reseller and systems integrator Stott and Hoare is a company which has built its long-term success on being able to adjust to market trends. Ingrid Gattari recently spoke to managing director Jim LoaderARN: How would you describe your company?
Jim Loader: We are the largest IBM reseller in WA in terms of volume and concentrate on desktop, notebook and server products. Selling servers has led us into systems integration. We are also a Microsoft Solutions provider.
Do you have a special area of focus?
Local and wide area networks. Our expertise lies in network operating systems and desktop operating systems. We work with other companies for specialist applications but networks are our space.
What type of customer do you tend to cater to?
Most of our customers are in the large corporate or government sector, but we also have a lot of small-to-medium companies in our portfolio.
What differentiates your company from others in the same field?
Our product knowledge of IBM is superior. Getting it [IBM hardware] to work effectively with MS software is really our strength. Every brand of hardware has its uniqueness so it's really important to employ a team of engineers who are familiar with the brand of hardware you are buying.
Which vendors do you partner with?
Stott and Hoare has been an IBM dealer since before PCs came on the scene. We were selling typewriters in the late 70s. When PCs arrived in 1982 in Australia we became the first IBM PC dealer.
What do you look for in a vendor partnership?
Product quality, competitive pricing and excellent support. It's important to know the right people to contact quickly when you have a problem and to make sure the vendor has such resources in place. There aren't many [vendors] that have those resources in place here in Australia.
What new or emerging technologies offer the best opportunities for your business?
Server technology and the accompanying software skills which are enabling companies to set up e-commerce solutions. Solutions that involve Netfinity servers, IBM PCs and the MS site server called Internet Server.
Where does your company excel most in its business methodologies?
We do large installations in a short time frame. One exercise we did recently was to install 250 PCs for one of our national clients and it all had to be done over a weekend. We flew people out to each state and they worked with local engineers and technicians to meet that goal.
What is currently the key buying motive amongst your customers?
Price, performance and reliability. People want quality products they can depend on but they also have to be price competitive.
What are the major challenges facing your company?
With manufacturers moving to direct supply, it eliminates our role as a hardware vendor although the customers still need support which vendors can't provide.
The vendors can supply the product but they can't always integrate it into specific business needs.
So, we're repositioning ourselves so that customers see us not just an IBM dealer but a company that can integrate other brands or come in and install product after the customer has purchased it.profileStott and HoareBased: Osborne Park, PerthStarted: 1915 (office products)Staff: 32Turnover: $17 millionGrowth: 15 per cent over the last year.