WebCentral initiates move upscale

WebCentral initiates move upscale By Ry Crozier, Electronics News

Buoyed by a perceived upswing in business sentiment, website host WebCentral has launched its new Complex business unit to deliver multi-vendor hosting services to high-end corporate customers.

While the company’s existing shared and dedicated hosting services are built on the Microsoft platform, Complex services are more platform-agnostic, supporting both .NET and J2EE, according to WebCentral founding ceo Lloyd Ernst.

“We’ve taken a low cost, low risk strategy where we will wait and see where the demand is in the market before we invest in it,” Ernst said.

“If it’s Sun’s J2EE, then until we see enough demand we won’t do it in-house but we’ll let our partners do it.”

“Our goal isn’t to build it and wait for people to come but rather rely on deepening partner relationships and then bringing that capability in-house as volumes build,” Ernst said.

Key partner relationships include Dimension Data for J2EE hardware, software and services, Avanade for .NET hardware and services, and both IBM and Microsoft.

The company also holds peering agreements with all the major Internet backbones in Australia, enabling redundant connectivity through WorldCom, Connect, Telstra, and COMindico.

Final negotiations with Singtel Optus are currently taking place, with WebCentral ‘just waiting for the gigabit link to be installed’, Ernst said.

The new Complex unit is expected to achieve revenues of $32 million by 2005, driven by ‘on-ground demand for services between the capabilities of high-end outsourcers and smaller hosting companies trying to stretch up to meet that gap in demand’, according to WebCentral Complex general manager Sally-Anne Stansfield.

“These projected revenues are certainly not going to come out of $47 a month site hosting services but rather people with robust B2B-based sites,” Stansfield said.

“Where dedicated and shared services are characterised by their product focus and automation, complex is really about management and bringing together a total solution.”

“There is generally a higher [technical] level of person that works on these deals so complex is really about putting people back into the business of hosting,” Stansfield said.

Stansfield said that new technical and sales staff might be added at a later date as demand for complex services increase.

5 June 2002

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