SCO adds channel support to aid new products

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The SCO Group has beefed up its channel support program, adding new training and marketing initiatives to help its Australian resellers promote its UnixWare to application providers and integrators.

The SCO Group has beefed up its channel support program, adding new training and marketing initiatives to help its Australian resellers promote its UnixWare to application providers and integrators.

Kieran O'Shaughnessy, regional director for SCO Australia and New Zealand, said the increased support was timed to coincide with its latest big product release.

'We do have a broad range of product offerings which have been released or will be released in the next few months. We want to get our partners up to speed with the new products and what to do and how to sell them,' he said.

'Primarily, [through] webinars.'

US-based SCO has launched new versions of its UnixWare operating system, SCOoffice Server, Smallfoot embedded Unix toolkit, and Vintela Authentication for managing single user identities across heterogeneous environments.

The vendor also announced its next version of OpenServer - codenamed Legend - which is due to ship in the first quarter of 2005.

'We're also looking at working more closely with our Premier partners - that's our highest level - and providing them with access to marketing funds to do campaigns or promotions,' O'Shaughnessy said.

The amount of funding offered would be tailored to different partner's needs after discussion with that partner. SCO hadn't offered marketing development funding to its partners for about a year, he said.

'We think it's a great way to get value for marketing dollars ... but it's not something that we've done for more than 12 months or so. It tends to come and go a little bit,' he said.

O'Shaughnessy said that SCO had about 150 resellers in Australia, served by two specialist distributors, Sydney's Tardis Services and Melbourne's MPA Systems.

'I'm not a big fan of using a scatter-gun approach,' he said. 'I'd just rather work with two focused or niche distributors for our type of channel partners, [such as] software developers and vertical solution providers that sell on our platform.'

SCO also had 'a number' of integrators in its channel that themselves had application providers as clients, O'Shaughnessy said.

The vendor has been embroiled in US proceedings for a much-publicised and controversial US$1 billion lawsuit against IBM over the ownership of Unix intellectual property since last year. SCO has also sued three other companies in related claims.

SCO alleges that it owns rights to Unix code which IBM - and potentially other companies - had used across a range of its own products.

'We're adamant about our position,' O'Shaughnessy said.

However, he said it had been business as usual for the Australian arm despite the ongoing case, the hearing of which was recently delayed another month until November 2005.

'I'm currently into our fiscal third quarter and pretty pleased,' O'Shaughnessy said. 'I would say we've grown 20 percent [by revenue] quarter by quarter. Australia and New Zealand have traditionally been strong for SCO.'

The Australian market was English language-focused and had few issues with currency so SCO saw it as a good place to do business compared with some Asian countries, O'Shaughnessy said.

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