BUSINESS management software specialist Computer Associates (CA) sees a 30% growth in sales in Malaysia this year, according to its managing director for South Asia, Piti Pramotedham.
We are seeing opportunities in the void left by both large companies and small niche players that have pulled out of the region or been acquired, he told StarBiz on the sidelines of CA World 2003 in Las Vegas.
CA is holding its annual user conference and showcase in this US entertainment city for the first time.
As elsewhere in Asia South (Asean and the Indian sub-continent), Piti expects the government sector to lead IT spending in Malaysia this year.
Indeed, with the current government emphasis on information technology (IT) as it steers the nation to first world status by 2020, there will be intense competition from both software and hardware vendors for the billions of ringgit budgeted.
And CA has begun laying the groundwork for a comprehensive blitz in the IT landscape since the beginning of this year, targeted not only at the public sector but at the private sector as well.
We have held two major events over the past six months; and every week, there have been - and will be one or two events with our partners, Piti said.
We are spending a lot on education and customer engagement, he added, but declined to divulge the budget in absolute terms.
CA will not only be targeting the large users in both the public and private sectors, but also the small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
To address the SMB sector, CA has made changes to the way it does business on the local scene.
A major change was the appointment of local systems intergrator and reseller Patimas Bhd as its first master reseller in Malaysia.
As master reseller, Patimas will have its own network of resellers offering CA solutions, said Piti, adding that the appointment was because Patimas's operations fitted CA's business model at this point.
In Malaysia, CA also has direct resellers in NTI Sdn Bhd, Frontline Technologies Sdn Bhd, and Formis Bhd. Patimas was also previously a direct reseller.
To a question, Piti said CA would not pitch directly for major contracts, but would leave it to its local partners.
This gives more depth to our relationship, he added.
To meet the needs of the SMBs, CA has scaled down versions of its standard solutions. These are modules that not only are less complex but also relatively simple to operate.
According to another CA source, one reason SMBs shy away from IT operations is the complexity.
Most SMBs in Malaysia are family-run operations relying mostly on the telephone and fax.
In addition, CA is also working with local solutions providers to offer niche packages, such as loyalty programmes, based on CA technology.
The blitz on the Malaysian front is part of a major push in the region that Piti is directing.
And as businesses continue to see value in Linux offerings, CA said to be a later starter in this sphere has set up a regional Linux competency centre in Thailand for the benefit of local independent software developers. Piti sees Malaysia, Singapore and India as the largest growth markets for IT in the Asia South region. We are also seeing some return of IT investment in Thailand, he added.