S Central is giving its Linux development and hosting business a charge with the launch of a new Novell Alliance Group.
Managing director, Peter Mavridis, said the division would focus on the vendor's ID management and Linux software suites. It will initially have 12 staff, split equally between sales and technical support, but it is expected to have 30 employees by the end of the year, he said.
The services company has worked with Novell for several years, becoming one of its nine Australian platinum partners through its acquisition of Com Connexions in February last
year. The idea for the new division had been driven by both sides, Mavridis said.
While the financial investment had come from S Central, Novell had funded training for several of its engineers, he said.
Both organisations would also work on lead generation. The company would also leverage its existing client base, he added.
In addition, the services company has converted part of its data centre into a Suse Linux environment. This will be used to provide Linux-based hosting services in an ASP-type arrangement, Mavridis said.
At present, Linux accounts for less than 10 per cent of its hosting customers. The refocus on Novell would allow the company to grow this share to half of its total sales relatively quickly, he said.
"We have over invested in the sales team but we expect it to pay a return quickly," Mavridis said. "From the demand we're seeing, we think Novell products are hitting the mark." He estimated a fourfold increase in revenue from Linux as a result of the decision.
"We're profitable now," Mavridis said. "The biggest challenge is getting enough skilled engineers."
S Central has had several recent wins based on its Linux skills. It has spent the past six months developing and testing a pilot system to address the new superannuation choice legislation introduced by the Australian Federal Government on July 1.
The system provided end-users and financial advisors with access to various options and information on superannuation funds, Mavridis said. The joint venture was in association with accounting firm, Heron, and Curve Technologies in Melbourne.