Database and software development tool vendor Sybase has drawn its Australian and New Zealand offices closer together with the appointment of an overall Australia-NewZealand director, who will take the early step of setting up an Auckland office.
Appointed to the position is Peter Fletcher, with a distinguished local record in senior posts with rival database vendors Oracle and Informix, the latter now part of IBM.
Fletcher’s most recent position was with the New Zealand operation of Swedish ERP firm Intentia, which has quietly established a significant foothold in the market here. “I felt like getting back into a position with regional responsibilities,” Fletcher says.
He was approached by Mark Wang, vice-president for Sybase Asia-Pacific, whom Fletcher had worked with both at Oracle and Informix.
“He said ‘I’ve got an opportunity for you’, so I went and talked to [chairman and CEO] John Chen, and I liked the people. The technology is fantastic, but nowadays customers don’t buy the technology, they buy the company.”
He sees Sybase benefitting from Informix’s absorption into IBM. Former Informix users and organisations who might have gone to Informix hesitate to move to IBM’s DB2, which Fletcher says is still a much less open system than Informix, Oracle or Sybase.
He sees this trend as part of the same general move away from dominant vendors that has boosted Linux’s popularity against Microsoft. “We are positioned in the Linux base.” Oracle is too, he acknowledges, “and so is IBM, but theirs is a different product [from the Microsoft-oriented version of DB2], while ours is open”.
The drawing together of Australia and New Zealand presents obvious economies of scale, and makes it easier to deal with the increasing number of New Zealand companies that have been absorbed into Australian entities, or founded their own Australian offices, Fletcher says.
The move may bring a shift of some functions towards Australia, but the number of staff in New Zealand is likely to increase with the establishment of an Auckland office, he says. Sybase’s local presence has until now been Wellington-centred, with a large part of clientele in government and banks.