Presence Online goes global with IBM

Presence Online goes global with IBM

Australian Web content management vendor Presence Online is gearing up to pitch to the big boys of multinational business after securing a formal global agreement with IBM.

Tim Birdsall, a founder and director of Presence Online, claimed the alliance with Big Blue clearly demonstrates its standing as one of the leading technologies in one of the fastest-growing areas of IT.

"Now we are truly a world player," Birdsall said of the company, which has been through two rounds of venture capital backing and which had hitherto mainly sold into the European and Asia-Pacific regions.

"We could not have done that without the broad support of IBM. We couldn't have marketed ourselves to the big companies or gain access to key markets without IBM and we are now aligning our business with IBM's business."

Birdsall pinpointed the US as a key market, in which Presence Online is hoping to substantially grow revenues. It currently earns 50 per cent of revenues from Europe and less than 25 per cent in North America but this is expected to grow to 50 per cent within 12 months.

While declining to reveal the privately held company's current revenues, Birdsall predicted they would grow by 200 per cent in the next financial year.

According to Birdsall, business partners are key to the company's growth strategy. "We currently do about 60 per cent of our business indirectly but are moving the business model to one that is 100 per cent indirect."

Birdsall said analyst firm Gartner had predicted the Web content management market to be worth $US24 billion globally by 2006.

In welcoming the alliance with Presence Online, which is "an ISV partner for IBM", Phil Bullock, CEO of IBM Australia/New Zealand, conceded the company is operating in a "new era" where the industry is shrouded by customer "uncertainty about IT".

He said that the big spends on Y2K and GST "didn't improve the bottom line" and that after the dotcom bust customers are wary. The industry is facing "different times" which require a different approach to business.

"We have built [the new approach] around our business partners such as ISVs like Presence Online as well as value-added resellers and solutions providers," Bullock said. "If you take out the [IBM Global] Services side of the business, over 50 per cent of our business is tied to partners. That dependency is growing."

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