Making new connXions

Making new connXions

Value-added distribution firm i.t.connXions is sailing on Cloud 9 following its recent signing as Netscape's second distribution partner in Australia.

Netscape joins other recent additions to the i.t.connXions portfolio, including connectivity vendors Hummingbird and Attachment, printer vendor Lexmark and UPS vendor American Power Conversion.

According to general manager Laurie Sellers, the company is on track to record revenues of $50 million for the end of its fiscal year in March, with the aim of hitting $100 million by 2000. Since its foundation in 1992 as primarily a networking hardware distributor, it has grown to employ 48 staff with a product set that covers almost all areas of IT.

Sellers says i.t.connXions has been assisted in its goal by changes in the distribution marketplace last year, such as the acquisition of Merisel by Tech Pacific and the change in Com Tech's business structure. He says the second occurrence led to the initial meetings with Netscape in October, with the Internet software developer approaching i.t.connXions on behalf of resellers eager to embrace a second distributor.

Sellers says i.t.connXions has no intention of following the time-and-place distribution model adopted by Express Data. "We still operate the value-add distribution model, and the reason we're able to do that is because we've kept it affordable. We don't consider that the value-adding is entirely in the technical support area, it is also in the nature of the complimentary products that we have. We can provide advice, guidance on configuration, and also provide some presales support, and organise training and sales awareness events for our resellers," he said.

Sellers says the key is in having acquired products which are proven to work together. That product set also includes 3Com, ATI, FTP Software, SCO, Netcomm, Cognos and the entire range of product from Digital's five business units. Sellers says i.t.connXions is the only company that can provide a single point of contact for the Digital range.

And with the disappearance of OGen late last year it is now the only distributor for Oracle. "As the opportunities came up we've selected what we considered to be products that will compliment us but diversify us at the same time," said Sellers.

Importantly, the product mix also includes Microsoft, a company which has formed an important part of i.t.connXions' product mix, and is also Netscape's principal rival in the Intranet sphere. "It's not conflicting internally for us," said Sellers, "because we still want to sell as much Microsoft product as we can. I do recognise that those two vendors are in competition with each other in the marketplace, but we'll be managing them separately internally."

As for the Netscape product set, Sellers' first task is to get a good deal of product into the warehouse, a task that should be completed this week. "And in conjunction with that we are planning to make announcements so people know we have the product available. We'll be pricing it competitively, although we're not prepared to go out and undermine the pricing in the market," he said.

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