The expanding shadow of South African-based global networking and services juggernaut Datatec spread to local integration markets last week.
Following its $160 million acquisition of fellow global networking distributor Westcon, Datatec has acquired an 80 per cent stake in Melbourne-based systems integrator CNI Group.
Datatec's $23 million dollar play for a controlling interest in CNI clearly signals its move towards establishing a global reselling and services network targeting multinational solutions.
Lyle Potgieter, director, CNI Group, told ARN the industry is changing rapidly on a global basis and that he firmly believes in the philosophy that integrators need "to get big, get niche or get out".
"Our decision was to get big, so we commissioned Price Waterhouse to do a global search and Datatec came up as our preferred partner," Potgieter said.
He added that while Datatec holds a controlling interest in CNI, that organisation will retain its name for now with a view to "expanding fairly rapidly in Asia-Pacific through acquisition".
Already conducting business globally, CNI will now become the Asian partner of the Datatec integration group and will be able to leverage its points of presence in Europe, the US, South Africa and South America, Potgieter said.
"It is a good story to tell our customers as we now have a definitive delivery capability in all those locations," he said.
"If you look at their head office, Datatec have some excellent finance people but what they didn't have is management that can be deployed worldwide."
According to Potgieter, it will be pretty much business as usual but with some new customers and global support for the existing ones they are already servicing. He said there has been no pressure from Datatec to purchase certain products or to deal with Westcon.
That sort of day-to-day decision-making is still well and truly at the discretion of CNI.
"Let's be blunt. A multinational corporation wants to be able to deal with one integrator not only throughout Australia, but also the rest of Asia-Pacific and the world."