As far as working cliches go Down Under, it’s an all too familiar sight to see those big bad straight-talking Aussies cross the Tasman, march steadfast into the boardroom and attack the jugular of its New Zealand division.
Seen merely as a side-dish amidst an Australian degustation, Kiwis are often considered after thoughts, lost in the bigger picture of business.
But that of course, is a load of baloney, typified by Express Data’s recent rebranding in New Zealand, incorporating all things Dicker Data as the distributor moves onto bigger and brighter days in the Kiwi channel.
“To be honest,” admits David Dicker, CEO, Dicker Data, “we haven’t had to do anything. The guys on the ground in New Zealand already know how to do it.
“We’re not coming over here and telling them how to do anything. In fact, this operation is run much more in line with how we run our operations in Australia.”
Over a year since confirming the completion of its AU$65.5 million purchase of the competing distributor, on both sides of the Tasman, Dicker admits the Kiwi division of the business has been, to a degree, left to its own devices.
“This was already a good company so we didn’t want to come in and make a lot of changes, we didn’t see the need,” he says. “To be honest New Zealand runs so well that we’ve been able to leave it alone for a year so we could focus our efforts on the Australian aspect of the acquisition.
“Express Data in Australia was a heavily process driven organisation with a different structure and philosophy to Dicker Data, we were completely different companies. But in New Zealand that’s not the case. Just look at their philosophy and aims, they’re on the same page as us.”
Echoing Dicker’s observation of the Kiwi arm of the business, Dicker Data New Zealand chief Phil Presnall says the acquisition and subsequent rebranding has had minimal to zero impact on the company, setting the distributor up for further growth across the country in 2015 and beyond.
“It’s been easy,” he adds, “when we got acquired we realised we were more like these guys than our original parent company and this came after only a few conversations.”
Having recently brought Toshiba on board in New Zealand, Presnall’s task in the Kiwi market is clear; recruit more vendors and drive greater revenue.
“Without being specific about numbers, we’re looking to bring more vendors across in the volume space so we’re expecting large double-digit top line growth in terms of the next 12 months,” he forecasts.
“Going forward I’d like to think we’d have at least another two or three significant vendors on board by the end of the year.”
Very much on Dicker Data New Zealand’s target list is HP, and despite the tech giant being currently locked in across the ditch, Dicker accepts that when it comes to signing up new vendors, patience is very much a virtue.
“Our main function is to get vendors,” he adds. “That’s how I see it. We don’t have HP here and that isn’t great given HP is our biggest customer in Australia.
“We should have HP in New Zealand but we don’t and that’s the politics of the whole thing. We’ll have to work on that and it’s a long process.
“In Australia it took us nearly 15 years to secure HP printers so it is a difficult and length process. I’ve been in the business for 37 years so I can be patient. Obviously we want to do it as quick as we can but it is difficult to take it away from the other guy.”