Australia's network and systems integrator community faces one of the toughest challenges confronting business in the information economy today.
Make no mistake, designing, implementing and managing e-business technologies will continue to be a booming market for the next couple of years.
Strangely though, I get the impression that in the wider IT community, these companies are struggling to gain their fair share of the glory.
Internet startups hog the headlines in the daily papers and online services, gaining all the glory for continuing to lead us into the "new economy", particularly in the US (recent Nasdaq dips not withstanding).
It's time for these companies to seek some glory as the people who put the "dot" in "-com" - as Sun Microsystems' advertising would have us believe of that company.
I think it's time for aspiring Australian channel companies to risk getting closer to the dot-com fire and test the metal, so to speak.
It would appear companies such as Logical Networks, Synergy Software, Com Tech Communications, NetStar and Leading Solutions are on the cusp of entering new territories in the dot.com space.
Andrew Stephanou, Logical Networks' new managing director, made an astute comment last week when I dropped by for a chat. "It's interesting that even the dot-com companies have become passé now," he said. Microsoft and Intel have also become known as yesterday's stocks, he added.
One of Stephanou's challenges with Logical is making sure his company does not fall behind the technology curve, and part of that includes motivating senior management to adopt the new Internet-style thinking.
Practically, he recognises that the best thing the company can do is partner with the top Internet-focused companies.
The good thing from a customer's point of view is that IT managers have finally developed sound electronic business propositions and need the advice and support from the channel to make it a reality.
It makes sense that more investors in the financial community should recognise this value proposition.
Certainly Kaz's recent ASX success is a noteworthy example of something we'd be happy to see more often. Another company worth mentioning is the Volante Group.
Wayne Morris, the company's MD, told me Volante's hosted B2B- solutions are going great guns and if the company's share price is any indication, the punters are happy.
Morris' e-business philosophy certainly hits the mark: "It's all about gearing up your operations so you can move up the value chain."
On a different note, you will have noticed this week's front page has a decidedly strong retail focus. We keep a close eye on retail as it is the big volume mover business that leaves some small resellers struggling with box sales and upgrades.
So now we have retail's renegade hustler Tony Gattari making more waves with his latest career move. But this time he really is running the show and I can't wait to hear from any suppliers who once endured Gattari's Harvey Norman-borne sales tactics. smartbuy.com.au shows all the signs of a well-researched e-tail business, backed by investors who believe in the cult of personality.
So, Mr Consumer, it's over to you to decide who will win the retail versus e-tail war.