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Price key in Defence/Spectrum deal

Price key in Defence/Spectrum deal

Compaq has secured a $1.4 million enterprise management contract with the Department of Defence that will see it integrate the public and secret Army, Navy and Air Force networks.

The deal follows a controversial last-minute bidding process that saw it edge out enterprise management consultancy Full Spectrum.

Defence will use Cabletron's Spectrum management system to help consolidate a multi- vendor network spread across 300 campuses around Australia.

The system will enable Defence to manage all its networked devices from a single console at the Defence Information Systems Centre in Canberra, or remotely via the Web.

Spectrum will also be integrated with a number of third-party applications such as BMC Software's Patrol offering and Opticom's Executive Information System (EIS).

Geoff Casey, Compaq's Canberra-based professional services manager, claims the win comes after maintaining close ties with Defence for some years. "Enterprise management is key to us," he said.

However, Full Spectrum also had well-established contacts inside Defence and ARN understands that price was a key factor in the Compaq win.

In fact, Full Spectrum provided Defence with all the information required to build and manage the infrastructure, but lost the rights to own the whole deal at the eleventh hour.

Full Spectrum is in contract negotiations to help conduct and manage the rollout, which is already underway.

Ironically, Full Spectrum is likely to work closely with Compaq as the project manager and primary integrator.

When asked about details of the bidding process, Casey would only say "it was competitive".

Cabletron's sales director, Simon Ractliffe, told ARN he understood "at the last moment there was competition", but is happy both organisations will now work together.

"Obviously Full Spectrum would have liked the full business, but competition is competition," he said.

Ian Fewtrell, Cabletron's managing director, agreed: "We have a number of resellers and they compete."

Despite the loss, Steve Dixon, Full Spectrum's managing director, is looking forward to working with Compaq and Defence.

"It was unfortunate that we lost the ability to sell the product to Defence; however, it will be the long-term integration and support that will dictate the success of this enterprise management system. We look forward to being involved."

Meanwhile, an official press statement released by Cabletron has raised questions about the vendor's commitment to pursuing its channel model.

No reference was made to Compaq in the statement, which gives the impression the win was a direct deal.

A Compaq spokesperson indicated that the company is not impressed by the press statement.


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