Hip to be J-Squared

Advanced Micro Devices’s (AMD) story in Canada would be nearly impossible to tell without telling the story of J-Squared Technologies Inc. of Mississauga, Ont., first.

AMD has come out of Intel’s shadow in Canada to become a major player in the channel. AMD’s success in Canada can be traced

back to J-Squared, the firm’s manufacturer’s representative in Canada.

AMD does manufacture quality processors at a reasonable price point. But, it does not have a wholly owned Canadian subsidiary, nor any employees in Canada. And that is the whole point. AMD did not have to invest in building an infrastructure in Canada to compete with Intel in the Great White North. They just partnered with J-Squared.

According to Hanif Mawji, director computer systems group for J-Squared, the company is a direct sales force for the manufacturer in Canada.

Established in 1990, J-Squared currently has 50 employees and offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Atlanta.

“”We provide an infrastructure that already exists and eliminate or reduce fixed costs with regard to doing business in Canada,”” Mawji said.

For American-based companies doing business in Canada, time-to-market is a key challenge, Mawji added.

“”Having local and regional representation that are in tune with what is going on in that market is a benefit that shortens the sales cycle time.””

J-Squared, for example, has an established customer base in place and the company has identified top channel companies in different vertical markets such as government, education, commercial, retail, medical and system builders.

It was in the government space that J-Squared proved its value to AMD.

When AMD entered the Canadian market back in the mid-nineties, its only success was at retail. The company wasn’t even on the radar screen in the commercial and government markets, where Intel dominated.

That has since changed. J-Squared qualified AMD on the Canadian government’s Master Standard Offer (MSO) list. AMD products could now qualify for government contracts and resellers could now build solutions with AMD processors for its own projects for the government. Slowly but surely, AMD became an alternative to Intel in the government space.

In five years, AMD’s Canadian government marketshare went from zero to 35 per cent, Mawji said of the company’s growth.

AMD isn’t J-Squared’s only IT partner. The company has built relationships with SMC Networks, Brigadoon Software and Axiom/Fastora in the computer systems division. The firm also has partnerships with AMI, Marvell, Motorola and Pulse in the electronic components, electronic systems and mechanical systems divisions, respectively.

Last October, J-Squared helped SMC Networks expand into the VAR/system builder channel. SMC, unlike AMD, does maintain a small Canadian office. But like AMD, it did not have the sales force to compete with 3Com or D-Link. “”That is J-Squared’s core competency: We have an instant sales force,”” Mawji said.

J-Squared is also a supporter of distribution and has forged partnerships with EMJ Data Systems, Ingram Micro, Bell Microproducts Canada, Supercom and Tech Data.

J-Squared has revenues of more than US$100 million and growth has come year to year, but the company has felt the pain of the high-tech meltdown. Mawji’s plan for growth will be to increase brand visibility in the channel for J-Squared and for his partners such as AMD and SMC.

“”Maximize growth and sales revenue growth (for partners) means J-Squared growth,”” he said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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