Commander’s collapse, coupled with savvy business skills and a focus on delivering services, are giving tier-two integrators a new lease on life, several industry representatives claim.
According to EMC general manager of partners and alliances, David Henderson, the demise of ASX-listed IT and telco integrator, Commander, released $700 million worth of business into the market and has proved a catalyst for tier-two growth. But changing customer perceptions and innovative thinking were also lifting their position in the market.
He identified tier-two integrators as those earning $50-$150 million in annual revenue and largely working in the mid-market space.
“There’s a level of energy and entrepreneurship we can see in these companies – while many are not new, and have been around for the past eight or 10 years, they haven’t really been seen in the market until now,” Henderson said. “I think the $700 million that went into the channel as a result of Commander’s demise also forced customers to rethink their position that big is not always a benefit in terms of security and size. What I have seen is a number of companies grasping that and taking hold of this opportunity to surge forward.”
Henderson said the time was ripe for a resurgence of tier-two integrators and highlighted several national movers and shakers including S Central, Thomas Duryea, Harbour IT and Telarus. Regional players, such as L7 in Perth and Infront in Canberra, were also being recognised for their skills in the market and attracting new customers.
“These businesses are strong and growing, are putting people on, and are embracing new technologies such as virtualisation and de-duplication as they come to the fore,” Henderson said. “This approach is enabling them to build new ideas and relationships with vendors and their customers.”
IBM Systems X and Power marketing manager, Charlotte Tait, has witnessed an increase in the number of indirect partners investing in skills, business development, revenue and marketing, particularly in the first half of the year.
“We’ve seen an increase in the number of new partners coming into our market – often these partners have been in the market for many years,” she said. “With players like Commander exiting this space, there’s definitely been more opportunity for them. But there’s also a new generation of partners who are more willing to invest and put more skin on the table. This results in increased interest from vendors in their growth.”
Tait singled out Peter Kazacos’ SMB integration company, PKBA, as well as Computer Merchants, as partners who were actively broadening their customer base and demonstrating strong growth.