Another week, and another merger and acquisitions tale hits the news desk. This time it's Melbourne-based integrator, S Central, who has outlaid capital for library systems provider, DA Library Technologies (see page 6 of the October 11 edition of ARN Magazine). According to managing director, Peter Mavridis, the deal will see it broaden its services capabilities into one of its integral vertical markets - local councils.
S Central is also rumoured to be finally inking a NSW-based acquisition. The news comes more than 12 months after the company flagged its plan to step into that state market.
Many of you have told me that it's slim pickings when it comes to acquisitions these days. Potential buys are either overpriced, or struggling to such an extent that it's hard to see the value in picking them up. S Central has certainly found it difficult identifying a company that truly augments its current business. But it has persisted because of the need to grow outside of Victoria.
It's pretty obvious that whichever path you choose to take in the integration space - merger or acquisition, partnership or organic growth - the one thing nobody is doing is standing still. I've started to think that the channel has one major case of ants in its pants. This issue's line-up of stories supports my theory. Data#3, for example, is changing the way it looks at delivering products and services by shifting from a 'technology angst' sales angle to addressing business objectives (page 4 of the October 11 edition of ARN Magazine). CEO, John Grant, said customer demand, along with tougher market competition, made the restructure imperative.
He also put it down to customers having a more optimistic and informed view on how technology can be used for specific business needs. On another level, Brennan IT is creating an applications division with the aim of giving customers more (page 10 of the October 11 edition of ARN Magazine).
It has also flagged its intention to go on a spending spree if it can find a suitable acquisition target in the SMB market.
S Central's Mavridis claimed this overwhelming shift into new areas of business was necessary to secure customer spend. No one who restricts their business to selling Microsoft installations can make a buck anymore, he told me. Integrators have to look for different ways of getting into alternate industries because cold calling just doesn't cut it anymore. It's all about better relationships, stronger skill sets and improving business productivity.
On a final note, it was good to see Peter Kazacos, of Kaz Group fame, finally sever the ties with Telstra. He's rolling up his sleeves once more to kick-start a new business called Kazacos Industries (see page 1 of the October 11 edition of ARN Magazine). The company is planning to wholesale on-demand software and services. When ARN asked him why he wasn't sick of the industry already, he replied that he was too bored to sit still. I guess you can't keep an ambitious man down.
Nadia Cameron is Deputy Editor of ARN. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org