Global strategy is key to ERA's future

Global strategy is key to ERA's future

With its agreement with IBM officially inked, Electronic Resources Australia (ERA), with Ingram-Micro backing, is now turning its attention to Hewlett-Packard.

According to Ingram's Asia-Pacific president, Greg Spierkel, its global distribution strategy has been key in securing relationships with both Compaq and IBM in Australia. And while both ERA and Ingram have yet to secure Hewlett-Packard distribution rights, Spierkel believes HP will eventually warm to its worldwide presence.

"Globalisation is a valuable asset for Ingram as we continue our talks with all of the major vendors in Australia," Spierkel said.

An advantage

"It may represent only about 10 per cent of our overall business but we see this as an advantage over the local distributors who cannot provide a similar service to multinational clients."

But for local IBM distribution heavyweight ITG Computers, globalisation is no big deal right now. Braham Shnider, the distributor's national sales and marketing man-ager, said: "Sure they [Ingram] may have large international volumes which is a big bat to hold over a vendor's head, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it will be successful.

"A distributor needs a vast amount of capital backing before it can justify a global presence and for most Australian distributors that is just not possible."

Both IBM and ERA are expecting big results from their deal. According to Ranjit Limaye, the general manager of IBM's PC Company, Australia and New Zealand, IBM is experiencing "tremendous growth rates" of 60 per cent in the SME market, albeit from a minimal base.

This growth will, no doubt, intensify as ERA/Ingram offer IBM's complete PC range of ThinkPad notebooks, desktops and low-end Netfinity servers.

"We have strong ambitions in the SME market," Limaye said. "Traditionally IBM has been very competitive in large corporate accounts but we have certainly not been strong in the SME space," Ranjit admitted.

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