Wang New Zealand has taken its first step into what it believes, longer term, will turn it into a global provider of services. It has signed a service partnership agreement with Australian information services company Senteq under which each company will provide services to the other's transtasman customer base.
"We've been looking out a number of years and we've come to the firm conclusion that we will have to go global in some shape or form," says Wang CEO Doug Wilson.
"We've got clear intentions for Asia, which will bounce back, and we want to make the investment now to be a provider of niche applications and services."
Senteq is a similar company to Wang. It employs more than 200 people at offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and had revenue last year of $A120 million, projected to rise to $A140 million this year.
Importantly, it is the sole Australian member of The Global Alliance, a $US8 billion-a-year alliance of systems integration com-panies, which provides a network of 16,000 people in 29 countries.
Wang already has some overseas experience, having been involved in the rollout in several countries of a standard desktop client for Air New Zealand, involving partners at a local level but managing the rollout and the helpdesk from New Zealand. It's not hard to envision Wang tapping in, eventually, to The Global Alliance.
Wilson says Wang had decided it needed a partner/alliance in Australia and that he had talked to a number of players, looking for one which was philosophically compatible. "I also talked to our hardware partners such as Compaq, and Senteq's name kept coming up."
He says most of Wang's customers have some sort of Australian presence, and that Senteq has a number of New Zealand customers.
The partners will operate in some ways as a virtual company. "We're looking at putting in infrastructure where clients can take a contract with us in New Zealand, and Senteq will provide the services in Australia, and vice versa for them."
Wang will train Senteq staff and extend its electronic online service and support technologies to Senteq so that a call to Wang in Australia will be the same as a call to Wang in New Zealand. Senteq will duplicate that arrangement with Wang.
"We're starting to see a trend where corporations want to roll out IT infrastructure and services in the same way everywhere," Wilson says.
"We're giving notice to New Zealand business that we have the confidence in New Zealand IT to provide services to the world. It's our first push offshore and a sign of our confidence in the future."
He says that, despite the downturn in the New Zealand economy, Wang is 25% ahead of where it was last year.