The amazing thing about these events is that the local Partners tell the same thing to EVERY visiting executive from the USA and yet our comments are always met with an open-mouthed 'gosh... no-one ever told me that' response by the newest blue-suited arrival. I sometimes think that IBM tells its execs that Australia is like a little town somewhere in Texas so as long as you talk slowly and smile a lot you'll get on just fine. The reality is that with a population of over 22 million we would fit in as the next largest state of the USA after Texas with about 3 million more people than the state of New York.
More critical than our size if the fact that we have a different corporate infrastructure than the USA. Most of our larger employers have their HQ overseas and therefore we have a limited ability to influence strategic purchasing decisions. We also see the lions share of Australian licencing revenue being creamed off by overseas Business Partners who have cozied up to the Head Office buyers in Main Street USA, but that's life.
However what IBM could do is to make their own products more available to the Australian market. I'll quote from my own blog post about the reality of SMB in Australia with comparable USA figures in square brackets:
* Large firms: ......200+ staff .......5,876 .... (0.3%) .... [0.28%]
* Mediumsized firms: 20-199 staff ....78,304 .... (3.9%) .... [0.79%]
* Small firms: ......5-19 staff .....228,313 ... (11.3%) .... [4.75%]
* Micro-enterprises: 0-4 staff ....1,699,277 ... (84.5%) ... [94.18%]
So if most of the opportunity in Australia is in the sub-200 user space then why is there a lower limit of 200 users for Lotus Live? IBM is just taking its own products off the radar for all but 6,000 businesses in Australia. Mike got that message loud and clear yesterday and I'm repeating it here for the IBM execs that haven't yet been roasted at an Australian Business Partner Barbeque.
I saw Mike taking copious notes at the meeting but only time will tell whether the next exec to visit Australia has bothered to read those notes.