Stories by Brad Howarth

  • THINK ABOUT IT: Convergence opening new paths to market

    The forces of convergence are weaving interesting paths through the mobile telephony sector. As mobile data continues its inexorable shift from marketing hype to revenue-generating reality, affected companies are repositioning themselves to take a stake in this rapidly morphing market.

  • THINK ABOUT IT: Consumer nightmares

    In March, I left the tranquil security of employment to try my hand in the tumultuous world of freelancing. One of the first things I did was set up a home office, with a new notebook PC and printer, and a state-of-the-art wireless network to link all of the bits together.

  • THINK ABOUT IT: Rise of subscription purchasing bodes ill

    Technology purchasing is undergoing a subtle revolution. Slowly but surely, the old model of purchasing hardware and software for an upfront fee is being replaced. The IT user of tomorrow is unlikely to ever own their technology - they will be more likely to rent it, or engage in some other ongoing payment program.

  • THINK ABOUT IT: Money for nothing

    With vendors throwing increasing weight behind open source technologies, is it also time for the channel to also embrace something they can’t charge for? Open source, and particularly the Linux operating system, is being hailed as the greatest challenge to Microsoft’s hegemony on low-end servers, and potentially even desktops. But to date resellers don’t seem that interested.

  • THINK ABOUT IT: Homemade and disconnected

    Australian start-ups are great at developing new technology, but are rarely good at selling it. Australian channels are fantastic at selling tech-­ nology, seemingly regardless of where it comes from. Why then do Australian channels rarely sell local technology?

  • THINK ABOUT IT: The wireless revolution is here

    Wi-Fi has been promoted as the ultimate last-mile broadband solution since its emergence in the late 1990s. But even as consumer acceptance has grown, service providers are struggling to make money. About the only companies to profit are the hardware makers.

  • Partners in dime

    Funds-based channel marketing programs have passed through a revolution in the last two years. The days of volume-based rebates being redirected to Christmas parties are long gone, with vendors now both more strategic and paranoid in how their marketing funds are spent, but the move to create market development fund (MDF) programs — where resellers submit a marketing plan before funds are allocated — can merely shift the pain from vendor to their partner. And for resellers at the smaller end of the scale, assistance can be scarce. Brad Howarth reports.

  • Beyond Dot-crash: What’s left of the bubble?

    Australia’s Web developers were the darlings of the dotcom boom. Servicing a new and poorly understood market, they were able to charge exorbitant rates, and with demand for their services increasing exponentially, the sky was nothing but blue. Two and a half years after the tech wreck, however, the story is very different, writes Brad Howarth.

  • SWOT: The two channels: US and them

    It was Winston Churchill who described the British and Americans as "two peoples, separated by a common language". The same might also be said, however many years later, of Australians and Americans. Whilst the similarities between the two cultures are obviously strong, scratching away at the surface reveals a divide that, from a business perspective, can be hard to bridge.

  • The (Comm) Soft sell

    A few months ago ASX-listed CommSoft Group was contemplating a worst-case scenario. On June 18 the company announced that it had remaining cash reserves of only $1 million, and was spending above revenue at a rate of over $300,000 a month. Its decision to expand through resellers in the UK market hadn't paid off, and the company was staffed up for much higher revenues than it was currently seeing.

  • BIG YARN: The Net scramble: Are you ready for the main meal?

    In the late 1990s, the Internet promised to revolutionise Australian business. Vendors seemed on the brink of direct-dealing with customers; distribution channels were looking marginalised. New efficiencies were about to redefine business relationships; dealer networks would soon be discarded. All those brand new Internet-based companies - with their agility as start-ups and their ability to form strong direct relationships with clients - would soon steal market share.