A shortage of IP telephony and network convergence skills in Australia is fuelling a raft of acquisitions in the integration space, according to an industry representative.
Getronics manager of converged communications, Rob McCabe, said that while systems integrators and telcos could complete data, software or voice implementations in isolation, many had not yet built up expertise in converged networks.
"Convergence means having someone who has a detailed understanding of all of these areas and can bring them together," he said. "The difficult in IP telephony [integration particularly] is expertise: it is limited in this market.
"Over time there will be more and more people trained, but so far there has been a lot of demand without a lot of resources."
The comments follow the launch of Getronics' Converged Communications division last week. The new company arm has been created to capitalise on growing IP telephony demand from the medium (200- to 2000-seat) business sector.
"We have a lot of data engineers - the challenge was to get up to speed in IP telephony and convergence," McCabe said. "We are starting from the ground up."
To do this, Getronics hired 25 specialist engineers for its new converged division, he said. Two of these were Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Voice (CCIE) specialists.
The division was expected to represent 15 per cent of the company's overall revenue in 2005 and 35 per cent by the end of the 2007 financial year, McCabe said.
The launch comes a week after Optus announced its plans to acquire integration house, Alphawest, for its data network implementation skills.
The impending deal, along with IBM's acquisition of Logicalis early last year, left the door open for Getronics to seize opportunities within the mid-tier sector, McCabe claimed.
"We are pushing hard into this space as we see fewer players in that area," he said.