Mapmaker seeks new channel

Opportunities for channel partners are on the cards as business intelligence/CRM software vendor MapInfo Australia moves to sell solely through the channel from July 1.

Richard Lindsay, managing director of MapInfo Australia, said the company had traditionally focused on the GIS (Geographic Information Services) marketplace, but its presence is now growing in the business intelligence and CRM arena.

Because of this, Lindsay said MapInfo's IT channel is becoming increasingly important. Previously it had sold 75 per cent indirect and 25 per cent direct. "As of July 1 we are moving to 100 per cent indirect," Lindsay said.

He attributes the company's growing focus on its channel to MapInfo wanting to allow its "partners to provide the technology, implementation, consulting and application development" to its customers.

Currently, the vendor is developing new programs to train up its channel partners on particular MapInfo products.

Part of its channel strategy, said Lindsay, would be to create leads for its partners. He said this would involve MapInfo creating opportunities in the marketplace and then searching for the most suitable of its partners to fulfill the solution. "Business these days is about solutions for a particular industry," Lindsay said. "We've got to know how to speak the language of that particular customer."

Lindsay said MapInfo would also be assessing in the coming months whether to look at utilising a distributor for some of its lower end products. "At the lower end, we are looking at some potential distribution," he confirmed. Lindsay said MapInfo had to yet made a decision on whether to pursue this avenue.

He said there was incredible demand in the marketplace for MapInfo's products and the company saw a lot of opportunities, particular for its channel partners to provide further value-add to its customers.

In a related statement MapInfo has announced its MapInfo Professional 6.0 product, due to become available on June 1. New features include support for the latest release of Oracle8i, HotLinks, built-in 3D graphic capabilities and output enhancements.

"The feature-rich capabilities of MapInfo Professional 6.0 are the direct result of the requests and suggestions of MapInfo customers," Lindsay said.