Posted by: peterhact | November 23, 2011

Fightback: Buy Local

It seems that the cost of technology is elevated when it comes to Australia. Prices we can see on other country websites seem to be a third or half the value they are here. We complain about it, but we still pay the higher prices. How many Local IT providers are there in Australia that import componentry and build their own brand computers, then sell them competitively against the major vendors? How many of the people complaining about the high costs have ever decided to buy a computer system, laptop or server from a local manufacturer?

I had a look at the numbers of computer manufacturers that are australian owned. I could think of two, maybe three, if you include a company that uses one of the two to build their equipment and rebadge it to their brand. How many small businesses and small business owners know who these companies are? If presented with a computer system for a month with no badge, or with the badge obscured, how many companies would recognise the Tier one brands? If the systems were identical with the components, the software and the applications, it would be pretty hard to tell the difference.

Now, with the panels in play in government, it is next to impossible for small companies to make inroads into the government procurement system. If the panels were broader with greater access to local companies and their resellers, in a specific category aimed at promoting growth in local industry, there would be less of a skills shortage. One of the key influencers of technology skills retention is the retention of all companies in the cycle of ICT, not just the large companies.

Want to hit the foreign companies where it hurts, making their prices fall into line with local manufacturers? stop buying the foreign brands, and complaining about the price inequality. Buy Local. There are many options in the local space, there are companies who can do the same if not better job that the large IT monoliths can and they can do it at an equitable price. How is it that a local manufacturer – essentially an assembler of components purchased overseas, can buy their components  and still be competitive? The margins that all resellers, manufacturers and distributors operated at ten or fifteen years ago have long gone. Yet there are companies meeting and beating the competition’s prices, be it in technology systems, managed services or solutions.

I firmly believe that the best way to promote Australian industry is to support it. There are companies in Australia that have been operating since the time of the first PC compatible systems, when IBM lost its stranglehold on the market, and, with support from Business, Government & Education, they will continue to survive. The small reseller is not dead. The small to large reseller growth story isn’t dead, either. There are companies that have the ability to grow, they just need support from the business community to do so.

There are areas that are beyond the control of the Australian manufacturers. Software is one. but if the pricing for systems is competitive, any great price difference with software included can be lessened. Fight Back. Look at the talented people in Australian companies and the abilities that they have to meet and exceed your needs in relation to your solutions that have been built from the ground up. Look closer at the systems that they have to offer. Compare the prices that you can get from locals against the major vendors and, if it is viable, buy local. The profits stay here, the companies invest in local skilled workers and the local charities they support gain much needed funding.


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