Telstra has launched a bundled e-marketing package for regional small businesses, offering them basic e-business capability and access to a franchise and IT network.
Onyx Software and WebGroup have signed on as technology partners under the joint initiative, known as Netrading. Onyx will provide customer relationship management (CRM) applications to Netrading clients, while local IT consultancy WebGroup will lend IT support to the community.
Telstra executives would not provide details on the respective financial investments made under the deal.
Netrading includes a suite of online tools such as web-authoring applications for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). The e-marketing tools will equip businesses with online cataloguing, financial settlement and procurement functionality, according to Telstra spokeswoman Mary Guiney.
Members will have access to optional Telstra services, including web hosting, Telstra Merchant Solutions, which is a secure online payment system, Onyx's CRM software, which integrates with the Telstra.com portal, and Big Pond access.
"For small businesses, this means they have the benefits of industrial-grade platforms and transaction engines which provide a high level of sophistication that even the larger corporates find hard to achieve," according to Lawrence Paratz, Telstra Country Wide's regional managing director.
Guiney said SMEs would be better positioned as Netrading clients to wield purchasing power among suppliers. Telstra will encourage wholesalers to "treat members as a single buying community, thereby giving individual members more buying power than they could achieve in isolation", she said.
Netrading's pricing will depend on feature sets chosen by customers, Guiney said.