UK reseller opens Sydney doors

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British reseller IT Partnerships (ITP) has opened an office in Australia to target niche demand for enterprise-grade storage, security and services.

British reseller IT Partnerships (ITP) has opened an office in Australia to target niche demand for enterprise-grade storage, security and services.

Rob Ritchie, MD of the new Australian arm of ITP, said the value-added reseller (VAR) would initially focus on building its local partnerships with HP, Veritas, APC and start-up software vendor Drakar. 'We just want to get some great wins on the board and take it from there,' he said. 'ITP's looking to spread its wings -- it has a lot of global customers ... The company had been asked by a number of customers [to move] beyond Europe, into Canada and Australia.'

Initially, ITP was operating with a skeleton crew of two -- Ritchie and company chairman George Harold -- from a base in Sydney. However, the VAR already had deals cooking in Victoria and planned to eventually open a network of sites across Australia, he said. 'We're going to be very specialised. We're not going to be all things to everybody, so the partners we've got on board at the moment, I don't see changing much for a while,' Ritchie said.

Ritchie had been living in Australia for seven years -- working for other resellers -- and claimed to know the market well.

He said gaps in the Australian market existed for ITP, which was essentially a data centre specialist focusing on 200 to 1,200 users. The company had signed an 'exclusive' deal with information risk software startup Drakar. 'They're really the core niche area we're working on,' Ritchie said.

ITP would focus on APC's infrastructure products, and services around HP and Veritas backup and storage products, he said.

IT Partnerships began in the Thames valley city of Reading, just outside London, in 1996. By 2000, the company had doubled its turnover, winning Dunn & Bradstreet's 19th fastest-growing UK company award in 2001. 'I think about 80 percent of [UK] sales come from HP hardware,' Ritchie said.

ITP has about 50 staff in the UK and an annual turnover of £20.8 million ($49.9 million) in 2003 via some 200 specialist distributors, hardware, networking consultancy and application provision and vendor partners such as Cisco, HP and Veritas.

Chairman George Harold is the son of the UK MD, Damien Harold. 'So, it's very much a family concern,' Ritchie said.

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