Australian reseller shines with online support upgrades

Australian reseller shines with online support upgrades

Melbourne-based reseller Centari Systems has scored a coup in supplying the third largest contribution to a global Hewlett-Packard program selling service and support upgrades over the Internet.

In what is a ground-breaking achievement, Centari trailed only US giant Compucon and the UK-based distributor Basilica in the first four months of online transactions which substituted e-forms for traditional paper ones.

Centari's managing director Jon Johnson said such success with the online sale of service contract upgrades is way ahead of global ratios.

He believes many Australian enterprise customers are ready for full e-commerce transactions, and Centari is positioning itself to foster that demand and benefit from the revenues and cost efficiencies it brings.

"One of the messages I would get out of this is that the hit rate is a lot higher than in other parts of the world, because Australia is not the third largest market in the world," Johnson said.

"We have received good incremental revenue profitability and cost reductions from online sales. It is a lot quicker and far easier to administer than the old-fashioned piece of paper in the mail and we are going full steam ahead with further online developments."

With the value of the service upgrade contracts Centari has been selling for HP varying from $150 to $2000 per machine, and applying to anything up to 100 machines at a time, it is easy to see why Johnson was enthused by the response.

"We would sell 50 or so a month with a 15-20 per cent gross margin - better than we get on hardware, so that is good money," he said. "Most of the upgrades we sold were on servers, network printers and high-end PCs as the standard warranties tend to be adequate for volume PCs."

Johnson said that Centari was already buying and selling "a whole bunch of these packs" in the traditional way which he found to be inefficient and time consuming. "Because these are not hard products it has worked very well to market them in a different way," he said.

In anticipation of the rising demand for fully integrated online trading solutions, Johnson said: "We will have our full business-to-business e-commerce site operating by November.

"Authenticated customers will be able to place orders, check on order status, their account status - the whole purchase process online. There will be full price and availability on all 5000 products they can buy from us," he said.

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