Hardcat on the prowl for Canadian customers

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — An Australian software vendor is aiming to crack the Canadian market by partnering with established players like Oracle and setting up a local reseller base.

Dan Drum, the managing director of Hardcat,

an asset management systems software company, held a seminar on his product at Oracle Canada headquarters Thursday. The Hardcat product was recently certified on Oracle’s 9i database, and Drum seized upon the opportunity to address the potential user base.

“”Oracle is into giving their clients the best of breed and also expanding their seat basis. Hardcat just gives another reason for more people to take seats. It’s a logical situation — a handshake between the two companies,”” said Drum, who founded his company 16 years ago.

Drum is in the middle of a tour of the U.S. and Canada promoting his company. He’s also leaning on the assistance of the Australian Trade Commission, which has an office in Toronto to help fuel the adoption of Australian innovation.

By Drum’s own description, “”I know I sound like a used car salesman, but I’m actually a tech guy.”” The admission underlines his approach to finding new customers. “”We’ve not very big into mass marketing,”” he said. “”The main way it’ll be done is (through) seminars. This was just a preliminary with a few people invited. The major one will be done in a couple of months.””

Oracle and other vendors like PeopleSoft and SAP offer asset management modules within their own enterprise packages, but Drum maintains his product offers a more comprehensive approach to asset management — one which can’t be pigeonholed into a specific market or vertical.

The market he’ll be looking for on Thursday is the public sector when he travels to Ottawa. “”With government it’s very much how you do depreciation calculations and being responsible for assets where they haven’t very much (before). It’s happening in the U.S., it’s happening over here as well,”” said Drum.

Hardcat products have some users in Canada, but only through subsidiaries of American clientele, like the 7-11 convenience store chain. Drum has partnered with Waterloo, Ont.-based Titan Software to resell the product to Canadian companies and sign up other VARs to do the same.

“”This product crosses all threads of industry. Government, healthcare, education — anyone with a large number of assets,”” said Titan general manager Jim Reid. “”Five thousand assets and up is the target market for this. We already have our direct sales force calling on those kinds of accounts.””

Establishing a partner network will be key to Hardcat’s success, said Warren Shiau, software analyst for IDC Canada Ltd. He said a recent U.S. IDC report indicates that the market for asset management is wide open: IT departments are aware of the need for keeping track of assets, but more often than not it’s done on a manual or ad hoc basis.

If the product can do all that it Drum says it can do, there is an opportunity for Hardcat. “”Assuming that’s the case, maybe they have more power to go to the channel,”” said Shiau.

Reid said he has been invited to speak to the Ontario Oracle Users Group in June and a partnership is in place with barcoding company Symbol Technologies.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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