SolNet plays down sales staff departures

Wellington-based SolNet is playing down the Sun reseller's shedding of six sales staff in advance of releasing its latest financial result.

Wellington-based SolNet managing director Mark Botherway is playing down the Sun reseller's shedding of six sales staff, pointing out that the company is expanding in other areas.

"We haven't dropped any technical or delivery capability."

The company this week will release financial results for the past year, as a new relationship with supplier Sun takes effect.

From July 1, SolNet has been a reseller, rather than ISO (independent sales organisation) for Sun, which it had been since its establishment in 1993.

SolNet chairman Murray McNae says the new arrangement will have little effect on SolNet's revenue.

"We used to be a commission agent and would give customers a Sun contract.

"At Sun's request, we changed to a reseller-distributor model, where we buy from Sun and on-sell to customers."

Sun gear has been sold to end-users in New Zealand by organisations such as Datacom, EDS and Unisys for some time, with SolNet the intermediary and making a margin on the transaction.

Botherway says that arrangement will continue "for the forseeable future", despite the change in SolNet's status.

SolNet would face losing the transactional revenue if it ended.

McNae says while some parts of the business are down on last year, others are up.

"In the context of where the market's at, I'm not unhappy."

He points to successes such as the sale of a 64-processor server to Air New Zealand but acknowledges SolNet has missed out on some potentially lucrative business, such as at Fonterra, which declined Sun hardware as a platform for its new SAP financials system.

"We didn't make a sale to Fonterra, but we still have a dialogue with them."

Computerworld understands the business was won by HP, one of two contenders for the multimillion dollar Fonterra outsourcing contract to be announced later this year.

According to Botherway, while losing sales staff, SolNet is creating a Wellington-based national solutions sales position and Auckland-based services sales and pre-sales hardware technical roles. It will also cement alliances with "a couple of software vendors" in the next few weeks, he says.

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