A close relationship fostered by Centari Systems' Adelaide office with one of its key customers has helped it win a contract to roll out a major new PC solution nationwide.
But despite an association of more than five years, the deal with Laubman & Pank (L&P), one of Australia's largest optometric retail groups, didn't come easy.
"They really made us work for this," Mick O'Rourke, Centari Systems' managing director, said.
"It was a competitive and comprehensive tender they asked for and our only leverage was that they know we're a stable organisation with national coverage."
But after demonstrating its commitment to providing an integrated solution based on Hewlett-Packard hardware, Centari nabbed the deal.
"HP's significant presence in Australia really put it on the front foot for this project," O'Rourke said. "With retail branches in some pretty remote places, it was important that L&P have a vendor that could support them across Australia. In that environment, you've got to make sure you get it right the first time."
The project involved the design and implemen-tation of a standard operating environment to help improve customer service. Word processing, e-mail and intranet access functionality were rolled out to all stores as part of the first phase of the project.
Seventy HP Vectra VL Pentium II PCs running Windows NT 4.0, and 55 HP LaserJet 6MP printers were installed across the L&P retail network, while two new HP Net-Servers LH servers and two HP ProCurve 1600M network switches were implemented at its Adelaide headquarters.
L&P's 55 retail outlets across South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory are connected by an ISDN and analog dial-up wide area network (WAN).
The second phase of the project will involve the introduction of a new point-of-sale application, O'Rourke said.
Chris Greig, sales and marketing manager for HP's commercial channels organisation, said the L&P deal highlights the channel's importance to the vendor's success.