ORLANDO — Canada is an important market place, with more untapped opportunities than can be found in the U.S., according to Computer Associates International Inc.

The Islandia, N.Y.-based firm’s president and CEO, Sanjay Kumar, addressed

this and other topics during the firm’s Channel Symposium Q&A at CA World 2002.

Kumar is part-owner of the New York Islanders hockey team, which defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1 Tuesday night, and he jokingly pretended to hesitate to answer one Canadian reseller’s question about opportunities in the Canadian channel.

After chuckling over some hockey anecdotes, however, he said one of the reasons why Canada is so important is that it’s home to more mid-tier companies than there are in the U.S. — and mid-tier firms are where CA wants to sell. “”In our last business analysis of the Canadian market today, we saw that we can currently reach about 40 per cent of the business we need to reach, compared to 60 or 65 per cent that we can reach in the U.S,”” he said.

The second opportunity is one of language, he added. “”There is a very good opportunity for us to focus on the French Canadian market place . . . I don’t think we will ever have the resources to meet their needs on our own.”” He said CA will start by localizing more software in French, but it’s up to the reseller partners to reach new customers.

“”You reach a certain set of people that we can’t reach,”” he said. “”It takes a lot more people to service this world than CA can possibly supply.””

After the Q&A, Eddie Zeltzer, president of MasStor Technologies Inc., a storage VAR in Lachine, Que., told CDN he agrees that there is more expandability and potential growth in the Canadian mid-market — and specifically in Montreal — than there is in the rest of North America.

“”There’s definitely a higher concentration of mid-market business up there than there is in the U.S.,”” Zeltzer said. “”I think everything is upscale, everything is larger in the United States than in Canada.

“”So do you want to chase the Fortune XX, whatever it is up there, the Royal Bank of Canada, the CIBC? If we have the opportunities, we’ll look for them. But where’s the market that you can really hit? It’s in the middle. It’s called flying below the radar.””

Doug McLaren, channel marketing manager for CA’s Canadian office in Toronto, reflected on the past year as being a very good one for Canadian channel partners.

“”After the launch of the channel partner program last year, the number of partners we have in Canada is up 20 per cent from last year,”” McLaren said.

“”There’s been a lot of listening, a lot of time tailoring our channel partner program and focusing on our communication to the needs of partners.”” It was also a healthy year for putting in place a strong base of partners for CA’s volume and enterprise businesses, he added.

From a channel program perspective, said Zeltzer, “”this is probably the most aggressive one that I’ve seen in a while, and if (CA) can handle it and stay the course, I think it’s going to be very beneficial all around.””

Kumar said CA will offer exactly the same reseller programs in Canada as in the U.S., but will try to help Canadian channel business by offering higher margins than in the U.S.

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