The four-year roll-out of an estimated 34,000 desktop and notebook PCs to Western Australia's public schools has started to pick up momentum. And already some WA resellers are cashing in on the juicy desktop and notebook action.
Late last year, the Education Department of Western Australia (EDWA) selected panels of five desktop suppliers and three notebook suppliers for the estimated $90 million project. In another education win for Acer, it was named on both panels, although the vendor nominated its resellers to deal with the schools.
One third expected
One Acer source indicated that it expects to scoop at least one third of the EDWA business. The other desktop suppliers are direct local system builders CDM, Comdek, TPG and Y-Micro, while the other notebook suppliers on the panel are Compaq and IBM.
Under the terms of the EDWA contract, product specifications and prices are fixed between the department and the vendors, and are updated monthly and posted to the "Computers in Schools" Web site. It is up to the individual channel partners or integration service providers to promote themselves to the schools.
For Acer resellers in WA, it means that they can have a crack at both desktop and notebook business, while also offering related services such as integration support and training.
One of the Acer resellers to have already picked up a major chunk of the EDWA business is Winthrop Australia. A VAR specialising in the education market, Winthrop's general manager, Cedric Celestine, said that the initial take-up by schools caught them by surprise and that the program was going extremely well.
"We have been actively marketing to the schools and holding in-service days, and this has led to a big increase in our school customer base," he added.
Bill Moncrieff, managing director of another Acer reseller, W.J. Moncrieff, said that his organisation has been involved with "about six school installations" to date, but he anticipates that there will be some reasonable business to flow.
According to Tim Yorke, IT contracts manager, technology and telecommunications for EDWA, funds have been allocated to the schools over the next four years.
For some, they can make substantial computer acquisitions immediately by entering into leasing arrangements.
"The schools have a target ratio of computers to students that they must achieve at the end of the four-year period, and it is up to each school to plan according to their allocation of funds," Yorke said.
Although only about $6 million had been spent to date, in this early stage of the project, the funds are being committed to leasing arrangements and vendor preferences are being established. It has been estimated that approximately 70 per cent of the systems purchased by WA schools will be desktops.