Megabuck school deal offsets low margins

Megabuck school deal offsets low margins

Brisbane-based integrator Data#3 is the latest channel partner to cotton on to the cheap volume proposition being spruiked by Acer in the education market.

Utilising its newly formed partnership with the cut-price PC vendor, Data#3 recently signed a three-year, $1.5 million contract with Southport-based St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls that also includes a commitment to substantial equipment leasing.

The solution consists of 177 Acer PCs, 31 Acer notebooks, dual Pentium II and Zeon III servers and radio networking from Compaq.

Historically a Digital shop, St Hilda's has embarked on a steady network and desktop upgrade over the last couple of years including the installation of a fibre backbone throughout the school to support a heavy reliance on multimedia development.

According to Dean Downes, St Hilda's IT manager, the Acer proposition touted by Data#3 beat out bids from rivals because of the vendor's focus on the education sector.

"In education, issues such as integration and decent sound and video facilities are important, and Acer offered a standard three-year on-site warranty covering parts and labour."

For Data#3's Gold Coast manager Gary Partridge, the Acer proposal was always going to be tough to beat.

"Compared to the other contenders, Acer offered a significantly better deal on price," he confirmed.

But while a price-sensitive deal such as this didn't leave Data#3 with massive margins or major services revenue, Partridge suggested its sheer volume was enough to ensure a cosy profit.

"Even though PC margins aren't where they were two years ago, the fact is multimillion-dollar deals are still attractive," he said.

"We can also attract some services revenue from bits and pieces upgrades throughout the life cycle of the deal."

On the leasing front, St Hilda's has continued its relationship with Brisbane-based Rentworks. According to Downes, the school opted out of a capital expenditure model in favour of treating IT goods as an operational expense.

"Unless you upgrade your computers every 12 months, your students will be using outmoded technology. Operational leasing offers a way out of this," he claimed.

St Hilda's latest lease allows the school to simultaneously fix its annual IT spend for the next three years.

The latest lease installment of $500,000 is expected to cover the Acer rollout.

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