IBM olive branch rejected
I write in response to your editorial "Red, white and Big Blue" (ARN, March 20, page 2). Firstly, let me preface this by stating that the following comments are my own personal views. I have worked in the IT industry for over 10 years now, for resellers, distributors and in the IT departments of large organisations. In that time, through my own experiences and those of associates, I have found IBM to display little more than contempt for the channel. Their attitude toward resellers has always been to view them as a necessary (sometimes unnecessary) evil. Stories abound of IBM salespeople attempting to cut the reseller out of a deal at the last moment to make more margin for themselves, or advising a customer to switch to a different reseller with which they might have a more cosy relationship. I can guarantee you will be hard pressed to find a reseller or distributor that has any kind words for IBM that are not politically motivated. They may be making all the right noises at the moment, but it will be a cold day in hell before I would consider walking them into a customer.
Keep up the good work.
Support for schools unrequited
The education squeeze as described by ARN (March 6, page 1) would only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the government interfering with small business.
If you transfer this same issue to the Competitive Tendering and Contracting (CTC) and Rural Transactions Centre (RTC) grants (which provide funds to help small communities gain access to basic transaction services such as banking, postal services, Medicare easyclaim, phone and fax), you will find that they actually complete with us, the small businesses.
We decided some time ago to vote with our feet. Our organisation was fully supportive of work placements for students but received little support from the schools or education department. Our organisation at one stage took 15-plus students, we now take two. Judging by the indifference, no-one really cares even though schools are struggling to place students.
I have seen first-hand the problems that CTCs inflict from mismanagement, poor equipment selection, wrong products and unskilled staff, yet they continually pop up all over the place. These grants are a waste of taxpayers' money. The government seems more concerned about using them to attract favourable press instead of using good business acumen for the community's long-term viability.
It would be interesting to see how much has been poured into these schemes and how many have remained successful. I would suggest a 2:1 failure rate.
I run a small business that continues to grow despite the economy, the effects of September 11 and the upset of the GST introduction. Currently we employ 14 staff. I take the risks and have never been offered any assistance or acknowledgment from the government. It isn't easy. Imagine what arse I could kick if given a small proportion of the money they waste.
Michael Lacey, Techcel Computer Services, NSW.