When one of Australia's largest IT consumers adopts a lease plan including online supply chain management through three resellers, it is just a matter of time before its fellow fat cats and the rats and mice follow.
Telstra's $130 million deal with the newly titled IBM Global Finance (IBM GF) late last month (see page 22, PC Solutions section) is suspected to be the largest PC leasing agreement ever struck in Australia. In simple terms, Telstra sold most of their desktop and mobile PCs - in the vicinity of 80,000 units - and then leased them back to achieve the cost and efficiency benefits uncovered from a 12-month pilot.
The deal, and its use of the Internet in technology asset and supply chain management, clearly heralds an increasing demand from IT customers for solutions to include significant financing and e-commerce components, accord-ing to Nic Nuske, general manager, IBM GF Australia.
He also pointed out that this is good news for resellers.
"What leasing means to resellers is that they will have the capacity to sell more equipment more often because suddenly the customer is getting the ability to roll technology over when they really need to," said Nuske.
"It minimises the costs associated with using the technology and therefore their budget can stretch further. This means resellers have the capacity to sell more equipment."
Once again highlighting the need for resellers to ready themselves for the e-commerce business models of the present and future, Nuske explained how Telstra's online asset management includes online purchasing from three e-commerce-ready resellers.
"The large corporations are all going to be looking for some form of supply-chain management. For resellers it is a matter of being prepared to participate in online supply-chain management and asset-managed solutions. This is the future.
"I think you will find more and more big enterprises are looking at this type of solution to manage their environment, because what they are trying to do is get maximum efficiency out of the asset that is their site," said Nuske.
"The benefit of having that technology asset is not in its ownership but in its use, and while hardware is becoming a much smaller component of the overall IT spend, people still have this concern about actually making large capital outlays. Leasing can help to flatten out the costs to more realistically reflect the benefits received from using the asset," he said.