As the use and overall complexity of networks increase, Trent Datacomms has found that the frustrated network manager will do almost anything to prevent the unthinkable crisis - a network that keeps crashing.
Our customers are faced with a chronic shortage of skilled network engineers, and are working in environments like banking and finance, where downtime costs millions. Imagine a credit card control operation, where advisers are checking credit authorisations and transaction queries. Network problems will cost them thousands of pounds every hour.
Alternatively, with an increased trend towards outsourcing, consider the requirements for network auditing and management tools by the facilities management specialists. These companies' revenue depends on preventing such occurrences and if the inevitable does occur, providing rapid fixes and excellent levels of support.
For the past five years, Trent Datacomms has been selling and supporting a range of products designed to assist with the running and management of networks, varying in size from 50 to 5,000 users. In the period from February 1997 to 1998, we have dramatically increased our revenue and more than doubled our employee count, and we're still recruiting.
This market is huge, untapped and teaming with budgetary resources. Network management software products offer the reseller higher than average margins and an easy, benefit driven sell into the lucrative world of the blue chip corporate. Our current product portfolio consists of systems from the ClickNet range of network management tools from PinPoint, to the remote diagnostic probes developed by Technically Elite.
ClickNet for instance, has just launched a new year 2000 compliance software and hardware checker, ClickNet Y2K. If one of our larger customers had been able to buy Y2K just a month ago, it would have reduced the duration of its 4,000-machine millennium PC audit from four months, with a team of three engineers, to one day, done single-handedly, without the engineer leaving his desk.
While highly profitable, the network management sector is still a niche market. It is only worth considering entering it if you intend to invest in the skills and resources to specialise. The rewards are plentiful, it's a relatively non-competitive and therefore less of a price-led sector.
Our experience has shown that because customers have a real requirement for network management products, we are able to retain our margins and maintain profitability. Possibly due to current low levels of market saturation, network management softwork vendors seem supportive of their business partners or resellers.
In my view, this is largely due to the fact that as a more specialised reseller, we enjoy far stronger than average customer relationships. Vendors know this and in turn give us the service and support we need to flourish.
Mark Preston is sales manager at network management reseller, Trent Datacomms.
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