Sealcorp under review by IBM

Having recently ended its agreements with Nortel and Novell, niche distributor Sealcorp is facing a new challenge as prized vendor partner IBM also renegotiates its relationship with the Sydney-based company.

Adding to the distributor's woes, a Sealcorp source confirmed that at least one "key sales person" has left the company in dispute with management over supply arrangements.

It's not all bad news for Sealcorp though. As reported on page 10 of this issue, Digi Australia, another of its vendor partners, claimed it was 100 per cent behind the company and still retained complete faith in its abilities as a value-added distributor.

In a short statement to ARN last week, Steve McWhirter, general manager, IBM software, said it is "currently reviewing its existing distribution arrangements" on software. This was to realign with "new market opportunities and the continual evolution of the software business", he said.

McWhirter claimed the new model being assembled "will present great opportunities to the channel in Australia".

In regards to Sealcorp, the statement read: "IBM in software in Australia is currently negotiating the terms of our relationship with Sealcorp Australia. These negotiations are commercial-in-confidence and IBM is therefore not at liberty to discuss the details."

Chris Spring, managing director of Sealcorp Australia, was not available for comment at press time. However, when discussing parting ways with Novell earlier this month, Spring said it was "an ongoing process" to head in a "new direction".

"We are basically reviewing whether our current vendors fit our new direction," Spring said. "If we can't add value or they don't fit in with our strategy, we have to be fairly brutal. You can't just do business with someone because you like them. We are constantly reviewing our partner relationships - that is just part of business."

Sealcorp is owned by Brocker Investments, which also owns distributor 1World. According to another source close to employees of Sealcorp, the company has attempted to grow by "acquiring failed businesses" (such as Q*Soft) and not by focussing on new, value-added distribution opportunities.

Losing vendors such as Novell, Nortel and now possibly IBM was seen internally at Sealcorp as a sign the future is not looking bright, the source said.

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