New tech starts time-bomb ticking for resellers

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Australia's channel could self-destruct if resellers don't begin to work harder to promote emerging technologies and ditch the box-drop mentality in coming years, one distributor has claimed.

Australia's channel could self-destruct if resellers don't begin to work harder to promote emerging technologies and ditch the box-drop mentality in coming years, one distributor has claimed.

Michael Bosnar, managing director at Melbourne mobility distributor eXeed, said resellers risked being pipped at the post by telcos and other large vendors if they continued failing to heed opportunities around emerging technologies.

"Large corporates are pushing their people out. But they have to go out and almost drag [resellers] kicking and screaming into the new world," Bosnar said. "I can see the channel imploding if they don't seriously get it on out there."

Mobility offerings, for instance, were proliferating, but not necessarily from the major vendors. Resellers therefore had to get educated to deal effectively with the new complexity in the market, he pointed out.

"Notebooks are growing for a reason," Bosnar said. "But channel people are allowing telcos to get into doing the solutions."

Many large vendors were well aware of the different emerging IT trends and importance of adapting to the new environment. HP was one of those vendors, he said.

Large vendors such as HP had increasingly gone direct, a phenomenon Bosnar saw as partly a result of the channel failing to show initiative in sales of certain, particularly newer, technologies, he argued.

"There are opportunities in print solutions. HP has given lots of warnings to people. 'You know, we've got these products, we've got these print solutions. Please, go out and sell them.' And the channel ignored them," Bosnar said.

Meanwhile, telecommunications carriers, such as Ericsson, Hutchison and Vodafone, were investing heavily in new technologies. Some had been promoting partners and their work as part of that, but others were working to provide the value-add and the new applications themselves, he said.
 
Carriers obviously believed the opportunities were not to be missed -- and had the wherewithal to put their money where their mouths were, he pointed out.

Resellers needed to stop talking about "value-add" and actually provide it, Bosnar said, or they would be increasingly stuck forever playing catch-up and looking over their shoulders.

"I think the channel overall has to start to look at what's the value-add? They have been talking about it. I still see a lot operating on shipping boxes," he said.

However, resellers had every right to be angry at vendors who marched in and announced direct sales strategies, particularly if they then swept in and took the low-hanging fruit, he added.

Resellers had in most cases worked hard to build up the opportunities and their accounts for those vendors, and it was both heart-breaking and profit-damaging to see those clients taken away by larger, more powerful vendors, Bosnar said.

Paul Robson, programs, development and operations manager for HP's Solution Partner Organisation (SPO) in Australia, said the vendor was committed to helping resellers and distributors make the most of new technologies.

Mobility and "colour in the office" were a big focus, he said.

Robson said the company had been holding a series of roadshows that showcased such emerging offerings to the Australian channel.

He said he believed the channel had been and were continuing to do a very good job, around all technologies. Appropriate vendor support was a critical part of that, he added.

"We are very clearly seeing strong growth in overall channel sales in the 12 months to June," Robson said. "We don't believe our channel doesn't know how to sell the products."

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