Last week presented the rare opportunity to meet up with two Australian distributors setting up local branches – Digicor and Uptime Distribution.
We met Digicor’s newly appointed local sales manager Craig Willis and his Melbourne-based boss Richard Huang over coffee in the morning and with Uptime it was Australian managing director Tony Geagea who extolled the company’s virtues over lunch.
Uptime is yet to announce a local representative, although this may have happened by the time you read this.
The two encounters could not have been more different, but there were plenty of parallels in what the companies had to say.
Both Digicor and Uptime do not want to be small clones of larger broad-based distributors.
Digicor wants to be a strategic partner to its channel and Uptime describes itself as a value-added distributor.
Each wants to be a niche player working with a select group of resellers with a select range of products. Both promise to provide their channel partners with the pre-and post-sales and technical backup to help them clinch deals.
So far, Digicor is ahead of the game by already having resellers onboard and appointing Willis is also a good move. As someone who has been in the industry for a good length of time, most recently with T Data, Willis will be familiar to many in the channel, which is comforting for resellers when dealing with a new supplier.
The trick for Uptime will be to find a similar person to run its local operation, but Geagea’s enthusiasm and passion for what he does is infectious and he is likely to win some local fans if he spends enough time here.
However, appointing a local stalwart to be your local face will not guarantee success here, as Westan discovered in 2005. With industry veteran Paul Dixon, who helped found Tech Pacific, at the helm it looked set to thrive. However, the company failed to garner enough vendor support, which largely went to another new entrant at the time – Synnex.
Vendor support is something both Digicor and Uptime claim to have behind them.
Huang reckons few of the brands Digicor will represent have a major presence locally and that it is unlikely to clash with many other distributors. But, at least two of its brands do have local distributors already – Anyware Computer Accessories stocks Aten and Datastor has Adaptec.
Digicor also claims to have a ready base of resellers here, who have already been sourcing some of its products directly from Australia.
Uptime’s two leading brands Mittel and Expand Networks have some local customers, but will be largely unfamiliar to the channel here.
Both companies also have a track record in setting up new operations.
Digicor has been around for 10 years and has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane. Uptime started only two years ago in Sydney, but now has 80 staff across major Australian centres and plans to expand to India and Singapore in the next year.
It will be of great interest to watch as these two newcomers develop their local presence and it should make for some good stories – stay tuned.