By Brett Winterford
SYDNEY -- IBM, Compaq and Optima have emerged as the preferred partners for the procurement of desktops, mobile computers and servers on horizontal B2B exchange Cyberlynx.
Cyberlynx is soon to announce a series of agreements it has put in place for the supply of products and services to its corporate members. The IT component of these agreements will see IBM, Compaq and Optima fulfilling multiple large corporate orders for Cyberlynx members such as the Commonwealth Bank, Woolworths, Telecom New Zealand, EDS, Lion Nathan, Royal SunAlliance and Carter Colt Harvey.
These corporations have made a commitment to procuring a significant portion of their indirect goods expenditure through the marketplace, and in return expect to receive significant savings through the aggregation of their spend and the efficiencies of transacting electronically.
IBM and Compaq will cover all three categories (desktops, laptops and servers) while Optima will provide desktop computers.
"Our members will now buy from these vendors at the discounted rates negotiated through the frame agreements we have put in place," said Stephen Harmer, business development manager for Cyberlynx.
Harmer said the vendors were chosen after an extensive selection process, based on service quality, price and the capacity to handle such large orders. "It was also decided on their preparedness to deal with this new model -- it is a real change of channel to work with."
Optima's business development manager, Philip Whitmont, said that while he can't quantify the amount of business Optima will gain from the agreement, he is naturally excited to have a foot in the doors of such large businesses. "Given the large size of the existing Cyberlynx members, there is obviously huge potential for us," he said. "We are also confident that more companies will want to join Cyberlynx when they discover the significant benefits of becoming a member."
Existing channel companies who specialise in corporate procurement are less convinced about the future of the B2B exchange model. Hugh Bickerstaff, general manager of Volante IT said that while exchanges may effect other channel partners in the short term, their long term impact will depend on how well they would be able to meet customer needs.
"The needs [for corporations] are fairly broad," he said. "There are a lot of elements to our model, and anyone who wants to compete has to have those elements in place as well."
Whitmont said he was very satisfied Optima was considered to be among the major PC vendors, and said the company has proved in the past that it has no trouble fulfilling large corporate orders. The company routinely builds 8000 PCs a month in its "built to order" facility in Sydney, and can add more capacity where needed.
The three new computer vendors join Samsung and Lexmark, which scored similar agreements, for monitors and printers respectively, earlier in the year.
Photograph: Stephen Harmer of Cyberlynx