Expert looks Sharp with $1m contract

Expert looks Sharp with $1m contract

Melbourne-based software integrator and services company Expert Information Systems (Expert IS) has signed a $1 million deal with Japanese giant Sharp to develop software solutions for its range of digital office products.

The deal means Expert will become a development centre for the vendor on a global scale, joining countries such as the US, the UK and India. Expert will develop office management software for Sharp's scanners, printers and copiers to integrate the products into desktop servers, and will become the hub of the development process, providing Sharp with feedback and ideas. The software will then be taken to the global market.

"It is the first time we have partnered solely to provide the software," Expert CEO Gary Ebeyan told ARN. "Normally our business relationships stem from a flow-on effect as opposed to working with a global organisation on that scale."

It has taken nine months of negotiations to deliver the contract, but the deal is already paying dividends, with more than 10 projects already in the pipeline. Sharp will invest around $1 million with Expert IS in the first year, and possibly more in the long term.

Ebeyan said international companies were beginning to recognise the value that the Australian IT industry can offer in terms of value-added IT services.

"Australia is a developed market with a much better cultural fit than many developing IT countries, but we also have a significant value proposition because of the Australian dollar," he said. "We are seasoned in terms of our track record, the quality of production and capability, and I think these things made a significant contribution to Sharp coming into the Australian market in this way."

Expert IS hopes to replicate its arrangement with Sharp with other global organisations that are looking for similar IT services.

"We believe we can generate tremendous demand," Ebeyan said. "Developing countries can provide the low-value work to add to our high value-add here in Australia. We sit right in the middle between countries such as India and the US and UK in that respect. We have a lower cost base and very high value and I think Australia is the only one able to provide that."

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