While most channel companies have been left scratching their heads regarding 3Com, Richard Orford, an account manager at integrator ASI Solutions, has nothing but good things to say about the networking vendor after it pulled ASI into a lucrative education contract.
The Australian integrator is in the process of rolling out phase two of a network and telephony upgrade for hospitality TAFE College William Angliss, in Melbourne.
ASI was brought in as 3Com's integration partner nearly six months ago, but has since expanded its role in the project and in doing so has become a 3Com Voice Solution Partner (VSP). As a VSP, ASI can implement 3Com's flagship voice-data convergence product, NBX.
"It's a certification that you have to earn," qualified Orford. "There was an obligation from our point of view to invest in the certification and in training."
But the investment has already started paying off, according to Orford, with the project set to open the door to a host of new opportunities for ASI.
"The VSP will open the door to other [contracts] with universities and other TAFE colleges as well as larger corporates, even the SME market," claims Orford. "I mean it costs a third to a half less than that of a PBX so why wouldn't they throw out their old PBX?"
William Angliss turned to 3Com after its 400-600-user network became clogged by bottlenecks and was failing to utilise fibre that had been installed throughout the campus. The TAFE also needed to install a WAN, while providing better management of its separate student and administration virtual LANs.
ASI migrated the system to a Gigabit network and provided a core-switching platform based on 3Com's SuperSwitch 3300 range. It also enabled William Angliss IT manager Chris Tayler to centrally manage the network, including changing telephone numbers and data ports between classrooms on the fly.
While Orford was reluctant to reveal the dollar value of the contract, he did confirm it has become one of ASI's largest education accounts. Orford attributes this success to 3Com's lead generation and partnering structure, which he believes is generally "fairer" than most other major networking vendors.
"The model they've moved to certainly suits us," touts Orford. "3Com is very fair when it comes to bringing in its partners. Sometimes they'll say they're going in [to a deal] with someone else and that's happened to us in the past. But we always know that if we ever have a problem we can call 3Com and say what's going on?' and they'll be there to help."
ASI expects to complete the project by the end of this financial year.