CHA's recent acquisition of niche Citrix distributor Attsoft may be the tonic the organisation needs to extend the reach of its networking tentacles into the enterprise.
Having already flexed its bulging muscles in the notebook and server arenas with the likes of Toshiba and Digital, the Melbourne-based distributor felt there was not much of a future left in fighting the margin squeeze being applied at that end of the market.
On a roll
Hence the acquisition of Attsoft, a $10 million concern also operating out of Melbourne. According to Attsoft's director Mark Gamon, the CHA deal couldn't have come at a better time for his organisation which only distributes Citrix-related software and services.
"To give an idea of the momentum Citrix is receiving from the market, our revenues are doubling every month," Gamon claimed.
"In distribution you cannot be stagnant. If you're not on a growth curve then you're not a player and won't last long."
From CHA's perspective, Attsoft represents the first stage of the distributor's push into the value-add arena and effectively digs it out of the hole that director Roger Bushell referred to as "cardboard selling distribution".
"We no longer want to put ourselves in the position where we are fighting for next to no margin in the notebook space," Bushell said.
"We already have a solid Toshiba business, but you have to start asking yourself 'what's the difference between selling notebooks and VCRs' ", Bushell conceded.
According to Bushell, CHA will use Attsoft and its experience as a value-added service provider of Citrix-based products, to tier-one resellers such as Southmark Computer Systems, to cozy up to Compaq as a potential server suitor.
Standing in the way
However, a stringent distribution certification process recently implemented by Compaq could stand in CHA's way.
"Compaq is certainly making it tough to obtain certification now, so we see the attraction of being able to offer a Citrix solution as being something we can use to our advantage," he said.
In the event that CHA fails in its bid to win Compaq certification, Bushell said the distributor's contingency plan rested on sales of the complete NEC range.
"We have just completed some huge purchases of NEC notebooks and I must say that they have given us good margins along the way," Bushell said.