Ingram Micro and Electronic Resources Australia (ERA) yesterday officially launched their bid to clear the tier-two distribution decks by securing the rights to distribute Compaq's full line of desktops, notebooks, PC servers and its range of small business-focussed networking products.
Last week ARN confirmed the hunch it had in April that Ingram would fire its first warning shot by securing the prized Compaq distribution arrangement. Furthermore, the Compaq partnership represents a sign of things to come in Australia. ARN can reveal that Ingram plans to make another product line announcement with a small-to-medium business slant within the next two to three weeks.
ARN sources suggest one candidate could be Hewlett-Packard, which Ingram already sells extensively in the US. HP has a very stong compliment of small-to-medium business-aligned products.
Ingram Micro's Asia-Pacific president, Greg Spierkel, claimed Compaq's ability to offer large, multinational corporate customers a global product and service offering played a big role in seeing the distributor gain Compaq's approval.
"We think this global distribution is a substantial asset to have in Australia," Spierkel said.
"It may only account for 10, maybe 20 per cent of our overall revenue but it means that we can gain access to global corporate accounts before our competitors do."
Spierkel said ERA is ramping up its Compaq account management and technical support staff with at least half a dozen new appointments while at least two Ingram Micro representatives from the US have been sent to oversee training and the implementation of the Compaq products within ERA.
Greg Healy, the director of Compaq's Commercial division, said yesterday the Ingram/ERA deal would give Compaq the chance to capture a far greater chunk of the lucrative small-business market than it currently owns.
Ingram and ERA now join Compaq's other national distribution partners which include ITG, Prion Distribution Technology and newly-appointed Express Data.
"Traditionally Compaq has not been a strong competitor in this market segment but there are tremendous opportunities to be had," Healy said.
"We think that Ingram and ERA are two partners which can reach this area of the market through an exiting channel and an emphasis on channel education programs."
Healy could not comment on the new Compaq's plans for supporting its band of distributors, however he added that Ingram, like the company's existing distributors, would not receive any preferential treatment as the vendor strives to sell solutions through the channel.