Managing the country channel

Managing the country channel

In an age where multinational companies seek footholds in new countries, while branch offices are downsizing or closing, Derek Austin believes he has found a gap in the market.

Austin’s IT vendor services company, Channel Managers, effectively acts as a company’s country manager, devising and implementing distribution and reseller programmes.

Channel Managers aimed to help Australian and New Zealand firms that might have gaps in their channel strategies, particularly if they planned to break into the market on the other side of the Tasman, he said.

“There was a need in the market for this sort of service with downsizing going on,” Austin said. “Companies are pulling out of Australia. It was an idea whose time had come.

“Having a company like ours [also] gives vendors a way to set up in Australia without setting up themselves.” Austin, an IT industry veteran of 20 years, was previously business development manager of the North Pacific region for Powerlan Group subsidiary, Clarity International, a telco software provider.

Austin handles the Sydney operation, and Melbourne-based business partner, Justin Davey, runs the company’s operation in Victoria.

While the pair offer services for both Australia and New Zealand, an Auckland office is not planned until later this year.

Channel Managers had won five major customers in under six months, Austin said.

Newsoft Technology of Taiwan had appointed Channel Managers to handle sales and marketing for its digital video editing and photo editing products.

Austin said he would be seeking distributors for Newsoft and would then work with resellers to maximise sales.

For Canadian imaging software company, iseemedia, Channel Managers recently found a distributor, Scholastic New Media.

Another one of Channel Managers major clients is US speech recognition software vendor, Scansoft, which has a product called Dragon Naturally Speaking. While Scansoft has a few staff in Australia, the Channel Managers service supplements their activities.

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