Perth could become electronic hub

WA COULD become a major information technology hub if Kevin Baum has his way.

In the past three weeks Mr Baum has bought Oz Email West from MCI Worldcom and merged it with Database Technologies and Chromium to form Chrome Global.

He believes the group, due to be floated in September, could be the nu-cleus of a WA-based Internet services industry.

“The three companies are complementary in their skill sets,” Mr Baum said. “We are uniquely positioned to have whole of job ability for companies looking to set up in online business.”

Mr Baum said one advantage of the new entity would be its size. Total staff will number about sixty.

Size, it seems, does matter to companies looking for suppliers to handle major online projects.

“A lot of companies are uneasy with having to deal with small suppliers,” Mr Baum said. “They end up having to piece out the project and manage it themselves.”

Chrome Global is looking to set up offices in the eastern states and the US.

“WA has a price advantage over the US,” Mr Baum said.

He said selling the company’s services was the hard part.

“Once we have a client, we probably work harder to communicate with them through each stage,” Mr Baum said.

“We’ve proven we can do the job. We did the New South Wales election website all from WA.”

Mr Baum said WA needed to create a hub for its IT talent or they would be poached by the US or UK.

“I’ve had opportunities to leave Perth that would have been great from a wealth creation point of view,” he said. “But Perth is a great place to live. And there are other companies here doing great things.”

Mr Baum said a trend was emerging for companies to start spending money on external applications.

“Most businesses tended to focus their IT spend internally,” he said.

“You don’t make money internally. You make money by communicating with your customers and servicing them efficiently.

“What’s not properly understood is that a lot of purchases may not be made online. But a lot of purchase decisions are made online.

“One problem with a lot of online businesses is they try to replicate the traditional shopping experience.

“What they don’t realise is a lot of people want a different experience. If they want the traditional experience, they’ll go to the shops,” he said.

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