NetStar moves to chase SME networking

Watch out enterprise users, the channel is turning its attention to the booming small to medium-size enterprise (SME) market and networking vendors are slowly moving to follow the trend.

Start-up network integrator, NetStar - an Anixter spin-off company, is under no illusion. The overcrowded enterprise networking market is not destined to yield high-growth rates over the next few years, and the result is the inevitable consolidation of service providers and vendors serving the market.

While many will not see anything new in this equation, NetStar is dedicated to serving the untapped gold fields of small to medium enterprise network integration space.

According to Kent Brooks, NetStar's managing director, the greatest untapped user market can be found in the estimated 40 per cent of 770,000 SME organisations in Australia with connectivity needs.

Mitch Radomir, NetStar's marketing and business development manager, compiled the market statistics in partnership with the University of Technology, Sydney.

Radomir predicts the SME network integration market is set to be worth between $875 million and $1140 million by the close of 1999.

By the year 2000, he predicts the market value to rise to between $980 million and $1540 million.

In addition, Radomir claims the enterprise connectivity market will account for just 30 per cent of sales, while the combined medium and small business connectivity markets will account for the remaining 70 per cent.

Meanwhile, he reports most enterprise networking vendors have either started up SME business units, or have SME strategies under development.

The message is simple. Nontechnical SME business people need networking expertise to help run the business and the industry is yet to meet the demand.

"They are going to want to see a human being and talk about their business, not bits and bytes," Brooks said.

The SME strategy launch follows NetStar's own debut into the network integration space early in February. NetStar is now operating as an independent business unit of Anixter, which remains focused on its core distribution and cabling operations.

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