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  Propella with the Warriors – 1 September 2008  
  1 September 2008  
 
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Reseller News

March 22 2002 by Angela Prasad

Auckland-based Focus Computer Systems has begun reaping the benefits of its flagship product Propella after three years' hard labour. Launched in the local market last year, the business management software package is gaining rapid market penetration, according to Focus.

The company has partnered with Auckland-based MaClean Computing for an installation project and is about to close a distribution agreement with accountancy firm Staples Rodway.

The path to success is never easy and Focus has had its own challenges. Propella is a product of 20,000 man-hours of intense development. To complete the project, the company was forced to change the whole skill-set of its workers. Research and development of the product was funded through bank loans, existing resources from the company and a technology grant worth $200,000.

We are indebted to the assistance of Technology New Zealand, which recognised the potential of Propella and also saw our commitment to the development, the belief we held in ourselves, our staff, our target market and the product", says director Brian Keltie. "The grant ensured that the product was developed to a high standard and launched to the market from day one with features which you might only expect to see within later releases", he says.

The New Zealand market is system savvy and expectations are high of a business package. "Our approach to developing a broad product base first with less desire to flood the market with a first release low-level product is paying off. These high expectations can therefore be met with Propella and further enhancements build on the strong base and do not pull the core product to pieces as each new feature is added.

"With Propella, we were looking at creating a product for the small to medium enterprise (SME) market which was a flexible and easy-to-use system capable of delivering the level of power and functionality usually found within highly priced mid-range systems," he says.

Since its release, Focus has been working on expanding its distribution network. "Sales within the New Zealand market are made through our own efforts and have largely resulted from referrals and recommendations. We have not yet begun proactive marketing but are working at establishing channel partners," says Keltie.

Although Focus sells direct, its main thrust in the new year is to establish a strong reseller network. The company is also taking on more staff, particularly in the product development area.

Currently Focus only sells in New Zealand, but plans to exploit offshore markets. "We will probably not venture outside until 2003, by which time we will have a strong installed base in New Zealand from which to leverage our export aspirations. Our expected partnership with Staples Rodway will create an opportunity to go beyond New Zealand as it is represented in a number of other countries," he adds.

Keltie says the global downturn in IT has been challenging but Focus has stayed on top of things. "Our sales process is in its infancy so we have not had too many challenges to date. Our product virtually sells itself and our challenges, if any, are to keep up with demand for the product and match this with a controlled growth in the company."

Focus was established in 1981 by Brian Keltie and David Gerrard, the current directors. Keltie and Gerard together bring over 60 years of IT experience to their business. The two share responsibilities, with Keltie looking after product design and sales and marketing and Gerard looking after customer support and account management along with quality control.

 

 
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