Acer channels education for success

Acer channels education for success

Acer, in conjunction with its largest WA-based reseller, Winthrop, has won a contract to supply the WA Department of Education with up to 4000 desktops as part of an IT infra-­structure refresh.

The hardware manufacturer is also close to tying up a deal for 2000 servers with the Victorian Department of Education.

Citing Gartner figures, which indicate the vendor is now the leader in the education market, Acer national education sales manager, Michael Cefai, said its channel strategy had contributed greatly to the company's success.

"We identified resellers 10 years ago who had specialised in this segment and had consciously built each other up over that time," he said.

Winthrop general manager, Cedric Celestine, said the reseller had been an Acer partner since 1996, and had worked to build a strong relationship in the sector.

"Most companies which decide to play in education are not focused as they have usually come from the SME or corporate markets," Celestine said. "They come to education because they think they can make quick money, but Winthrop has always been focused on education."

From a reseller's point of view, Acer's move toward a more customisable approach, was essential in closing the deal, Celestine said.

"What we're finding is that most of our competitors - unless they're whitebox vendors - aren't able to customise their PCs," he said.

"With Acer we can say we need one or one thousand PCs made a particular way."

Cefai agreed the notoriously competitive and fickle market's requirements varied from state to state and institution to institution.

Celestine said Acer had dedicated resources to the education market in the form of a national education manager and account managers in each state.

Through bundling software such as XSIQ, which included digital curriculum content, the vendor had created a professional development program to cater to teachers, Cefai said.

Acer was also promoting itself and resellers through an annual national education conference, which last attracted 175 schools, and a quarterly high-tech conference to enable know­ledge transfer between resellers and education professionals, he said.

Acer has been implementing a snowball-style sales strategy in which the company concentrated on one sub-segment such as TAFEs or government schools for a year, before moving onto the next sub-segment.

"As we grow one sub-segment we grow stronger into the next," Cefai said.

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