Some might already be accustomed to buying their
customer relationship management applications on-demand style,
but the software-as-a-service delivery model could also be
starting to make headway in network management circles.
That's the view of Chris Meager, new chief executive of the
Australian arm of network integrator NetStar which, among other offerings, sells its own
network management platform nVisage as a service.
"We're starting to see quite a few tenders and requests come
out for that kind of service," Meager told ZDNet Australia in a
telephone interview late last week.
"Seems to be a big trend that we're noticing worldwide, that
more people want to go to software as a service as opposed to
having to buy licences outright," he continued.
"We've got quite a few arrangements where we are selling
software as a service, and we're selling it through other
For example, Meager said, NetStar recently signed a joint venture deal with China
Telecom that is seeing the giant resell NetStar's network management
solution to its customers. He added the software delivery model comes with certain advantages.
"Your training and installation cost is much lower, and for small enterprises who don't want to fully outsource the network management -- they want to use their own engineers -- you can actually get the software at a fairly low price," he said.
Meager sees nVisage as important enough that he
made control over its future development a key part of his
strategy for NetStar Australia. He took over in March after
sitting unofficially in the top job for the six months
Meager took the job on the agreement that NetStar's board
would provide its Australian arm with more autonomy from the
other geographic regions. The company's group head office has since been disbanded and Meager now reports directly to NetStar's board.
This has allowed him to pursue a strategy of re-focusing the
Australian arm on services around Cisco hardware, and taking
control of the development of nVisage.
Research and development on nVisage is conducted from
Sydney, where NetStar's 24x7 network operations centre for
network management services also sits.
"The other Netstar companies in Asia resell our capabilities.
They resell NetManage and software as a service based on nVisage
out of Australia," Meager said.
NetManage is a service providing remote management of
enterprise networks and associated assets.
"What happened is that because those markets were closer to
head office, they were kind of able to dictate the development
Meager said this happened despite the fact Australia was the
biggest geographic arm of NetStar and the development priorities
"didn't necessarily suit" Australian needs.
"I felt it inhibited the growth of the company," he said.
NetStar also recently sold off its business relating to Cisco
rival Nortel last year, with the highest bidder -- telco Commander -- picking up the work.
According to Meager, Cisco is "definitely the dominant and
most successful supplier ... with the most complete vision for
the future", so it made sense to focus on the vendor's
NetStar Australia has just over 90 staff spread across Sydney,
Melbourne and Brisbane, with the majority of the company's
revenue coming from the Victorian capital.
The company's two strongest vertical markets are education and
government. "We don't have a Canberra office, but we actually
have quite a few federal government customers, amazingly," said