ARN: What is your core competency?
Anderson: We are a mid-range distributor for all of IBM's server products including the AS 4000, AS 6000 and Netfinity ranges. We are also an Oracle applications dealer focusing on the mid-range market.
Who are your customers?
Tardis caters mainly to SME commercial clients in Sydney's western suburbs. We do very little government or education. We also have around 100 indirect clients such as resellers and ISPs.
What advice would you offer to integrators and/or resellers?
Do the job properly. A lot of resellers are not doing this when the opportunity is there to do the job correctly the first time. Mid-range customers want to see a fixed-price contract and they want to see the job completed for that price. You have to know your business well enough to say to customers what you can or can't do. In our business we find that 98 per cent of work is on fixed price.
Why do they want a fixed price?
Most have seen many things go wrong in the past. Our industry hasn't got the most glowing history of `can-do' and `will-do' attitudes. Thank God computer programmers don't make aeroplanes.
What differentiates your company from others in the same field?
Firstly, we only sell IBM and I do that for my own sanity because it is hard dealing with suppliers. A vast majority of our competitors will distribute or resell any product. The second difference is that we do the lot including implementation. So, in the mid-range marketplace, we do all the ancillary work to ensure a system we sell goes in correctly. And thirdly, we stand by what we say.
Why do you partner with IBM?
They are big, they have good brand recognition and are reasonably priced. We don't sell multiple brands because we think it says to the marketplace: `We'll sell you anything because we don't really care.' In my opinion that's the wrong message.
What new or emerging technologies offer the best opportunities for companies such as yours?
I'd pay a lot of money if you could tell me the answer to that. I don't know.
Of course there is an enormous amount of interest in the Internet but I see very few making money out of that at the moment. What we are interested in is how you make money out of being an application solution provider (ASP).
There are drivers there, but we are exploring ways to get into that marketplace in a cost-effective manner. We do a fair bit of ASP work already and we're seeing growth there.
Where does your company excel in its business methodologies?
Consistency and honesty.
What are the key buying motives among your customers?
Business need. The growth and the age of their computer systems is making them hard to maintain.
So how often does a mid-size company have to upgrade its systems?
In my experience, in a major way, every 5-7 years.
How will you deal with the GST?
We are GST-ready now. It's not an issue to us, or most of our customers. Most of the software that floats around the world is GST-ready anyway. Only Australian stuff isn't.
What is the big issue right now for your company?
The slowdown for Y2K.
What is the major inhibitor to your business development plans?
Willingness to execute. There are no inhibitors in this industry, except yourself.profileTardis ServicesBased: Gladesville, SydneyStarted: 1994Other offices: MelbourneStaff: 29Turnover: $11 million last year (estimated to reach $20 million this year)Growth: Over 50 per cent per year