AlphaBlox enters Aust via channel

US-based analytical enterprise software vendor AlphaBlox last week opened its first international office in Sydney.

Without the weight of suitably large local companies that there is in the US, AlphaBlox has targeted the channel to achieve its revenue goals in Australia, according to Mark Rankovic, the newly appointed general manager.

A London office is set to open within a few weeks, as the three-year-old company looks to expand.

And the good news, according to Rankovic, is there are `tons of services' that can be hung off its high-end AlphaBlox Analysis Suite, which he also said would be suited to resellers with application service provision operations.

`In Australia we are actually looking for a single-tier distribution model,' said Rankovic. `There will be a direct model for part of the business, but there will also be a single-tier indirect model - but the commitment from the reseller or integrator will have to be fairly significant.'

He said that AlphaBlox is both a suite of development tools, or building `blox' as the company refers to them, and an out-of-the-box application. The concept the company uses is to have developed a series of building blocks from which solutions are `assembled rather than developed. There is no coding,' Rankovic said. `But solutions are assembled using traditional Web authoring mechanisms. Our blox are dragged off the pallet and dropped onto normal Web pages where they can then be assembled amongst any other content.'

That content can be transactional, news or any other content needed to build completed applications, according to Rankovic, while there are also completed applications that have been developed by `big-six' accounting partners.

The company has a mainly direct go-to-market strategy in the US with its traditional customers being high-end corporates. That is all set to change as AlphaBlox pursues customers further down the food chain and further abroad. Research has shown these users largely rely on the IT channel as their source of information and supply.

`This is early days for the internat-ional expansion, but we expect 30-50 per cent of the business to ultimately come from international regions within about three years,' Rankovic said.

In Australia, Rankovic said that the type of partners AlphaBlox was trying to attract include some of the `big five' services companies, industry-focused integrators and medium-tier consulting companies.

As far as current competition is concerned, Rankovic said that he was expecting to encroach on some of the space held by companies such as Cognos. `We don't see them as direct competitors as such,' he said. `But typically, querying and reporting tools attempt to do what we do.

`They too can deploy a Web page but their tool requires total control of the Web page to intermix data content from different sources.

`What AlphaBlox does is allow the person assembling an analytical application to develop it using a traditional Web authoring tool and then just drag and drop our objects and data into it.'