Two industry representatives are calling on resellers and distributors of all shapes and sizes to throw their weight behind a new professional channels group.
The Australian Channels Association's (ACA) charter is to raise the profile and prestige of the IT channel community. It is the brainchild of Embarcadero Asia-Pacific channels manager, Robert Nagy, and owner of subsidiary services organisation Interaktiv1, George Kaponay.
"We are in the initial stages, but this is designed to be a national association for channel professionals," Nagy said. "It will be a forum for networking, professional development, career opportunities, as well as partnering with other channel players."
The ultimate aim of ACA was to construct a group that could benefit all types of channel representatives - whether these were partner managers in vendors, distributors, integrators or traditional IT resellers, he said.
"It is high time for the industry to start growing up and behaving as a group of professionals," he said. "We need to set up a forum for these persons to meet and pass on skills and knowledge.
"We plan to throw a broad net and engage representatives from all channel companies. This does have its positives and negatives, but when you have a broad membership, you can add value to each of those interest groups."
Kaponay said its key focus was on promoting best practice within the industry.
"We want to provide a centralised hub for people to gain professional development and interact not only for their own betterment for also for the industry as a whole," he said.
Nagy and Kaponay are putting together an association board. The pair also want to engage 30-40 corporate members as well as sponsors to further the cause. They have also held discussions with the Australian Information Industry Association and Australian export body, Austrade.
The ACA will be based in Melbourne.
From there, Nagy said it hoped to quickly establish a presence in other capital cities, starting with Sydney and Brisbane.
Once a founding board was established, it planned to set up special interest groups to cater to the various needs of its members.
The content and issues covered would be determined by submissions from members. The ACA would be a not-for-profit organisation.
Nagy said he had come up with the idea for the ACA through his previous experiences with the Australian Institute of Management. The idea of an overarching channesl organisation has been expressed in many forms, ranging from specific groups for system builders, through to organisations like the Australian Computer Society.
Many of these ideas have been squashed due to the time required to set up and participate in such an organisation, as well as the element of competition.