When IBM's chairman Lou Gerstner put out the call at Big Blue's PartnerWorld 2001 conference in Atlanta, for partners to target the global mid business (GMB) market, Candle Corp's Australian operations put up its hand. Six months on, and the company has launched a new practice, code-named Maguire, that will see Candle's directors get back to their channel roots.
Guy Simpson, Candle's IBM alliance director and Chris Stockton, Candle's director of consulting and services, both former directors of Australian integrator Somerset Systems (acquired by Candle in 1999), asked the question "should we do it?"
The answer was Maguire, a new business unit within Candle, that will effectively integrate and develop applications around IBM's WebSphere product line in conjunction with Candle's own application management and reporting software. Furthermore the Maguire practice is in the throes of being rolled out across the Asia-Pacific region including Japan, with the view of potentially replicating the business unit throughout Candle's US and European offices.
"Basically we're doing technically for the mid-market what Candle has done for large enterprises, in that we can take enterprise level experience and take it into a mid level project," Stockton told ARN. "But keep in mind, this isn't like taking a sledge hammer to crack an egg."
The former channel men, and Candle's Asia-Pacific general manager John Bostleman, are optimistic about the future of the new practice. So much so that Candle has invested the equivalent of over $100,000 in training in the last fiscal year under IBM's "you pass we pay" training scheme.
The result is that by leveraging Candle's resources in Australia, Maguire will have access to 62 WebSphere certified engineers, making it the largest WebSphere certified partner in the country.
IBM has given Maguire an initial sales quota of $700,000 and according to Simpson, the business has already generated $500,000 in license sales for that period.
Stockton allayed fears the new Candle practice would compete directly with Candle's existing reseller network, saying that Maguire intends to work with many of its partners to deliver a total package.
Maguire has already partnered with newly formed Web developer Different. The company develops applications and interfaces that connect back-end systems with various platform devices such PDAs, notebooks and WAP phones.