This year’s CeBIT trade show in Sydney was like a lonely hearts ball.
‘Vendor seeks profitable relationship with partner’, was the call to be heard from the majority of the 150 smaller IT companies that packed the Software Showcase organised by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).
Many of the more established companies around the rest of the halls were also looking for partners, with the show’s organiser, Hannover Trade Fairs, stressing its matchmaking potential.
For most start-ups, creating a channel is a natural part of growing up as they graduate from online sales, or selling to a few direct retailers and integrators, to playing the field.
“Resellers wanted” read a large sign at the stand of DYO Services, a backup software developer based in the Sydney suburb of Drummoyne.
Its software has been around for three years, but the company is ready to take its latest version to the mainstream market.
DYO is installed on the PC or server and every day it automatically backs up any changed or new data, storing it in the Hitachi data centre in Melbourne.
DYO director, Col Poulter, said his firm had signed 11 partners around the country including Dr Dave’s of Sydney, Caladrius Computing and SME Corp of Woollongong.
He would like to add more, particularly around Sydney and Melbourne.
Typical partners would be IT consultants, computer repairers, bookkeepers and MYOB consultants.
“We’re looking for people who are keen to build a business around this,” he said.
CEO of Melbourne-based Intranet Dashboard, Campbell Dobbin, was also seeking resellers and distributors. Its software was launched six months ago and recently-appointed business manager, Michael Ryan, was now touring the country meeting potential resellers.
Intranet Dashboard would like to appoint a major distributor in each state and resellers that could add value by offering other services.
Mid-sized specialists that had two or three cornerstone corporate customers would gain most from the system, Dobbin said.
Brisbane-based Village Mall offers fully-integrated online business services such as accounts, payroll and CRM. The .Net-developed service has been refined since its 2000 launch, according to managing director, Charles Moore.
He said the company had eight accountant ‘solution providers’ that looked after consultants across a region.
Moore said accountants were conservative, which was a hurdle, but as online banking became more prevalent, people increasingly accepted using other online services.
Outsourcing was becoming more widespread, which meant using Village Mall’s services was becoming less of an issue.
Moore said he had also identified New Zealand, the UK and Canada as export opportunities because they had similar regulatory frameworks.
Adelaide-based anti-spammer, Boxsentry, had previously sold its product by mail-out to customers of its parent company, WebGenie.
CEO, Adesh Goel, said the company now needed resellers with access to corporate and SME customers if it was to progress.
He said ideal partners would be systems integrators or companies that dealt with maintenance and the management of company IT systems.
Boxsentry had not finalised its channel structure, or a planned revenue sharing model, but Goel hoped to sign up his first resellers within a few weeks. He claimed to have met 30 potential resellers on the first day of CeBIT, which he said had justified the $1100 bill for the stall.
Melbourne-based Crystal Software has sold its data-mining software online to 1500 customers in 62 countries since 1999, according to CEO Simon Carter. But it now wanted to reach bigger customers and systems integrators with its product.
Carter reported 35 positive leads on CeBIT’s first day, including many systems integrators and consultants, plus others wanting to integrate the application with CRM and accounting products.
The Microsoft stand, with 35 independent software vendors (ISVs), saw the software giant demonstrating its matchmaking skills.
Microsoft launched its $4 million Channel Builder programme in March to bring software companies and channel partners together through networking events and by trying to put their products on the world map through an online search and promote facility to be launched in July.
Microsoft partner director, Kerstin Baxter, claimed the ISVs said the scheme was very effective but she was unable to estimate how many firms had found partners. Interest in Microsoft events was growing, she said, with about 20-40 due to attend Microsoft road show events across Australia this month.
“Microsoft benefits from these partners as they are using our platform,” Baxter said. “They add value to it.”