ASI gets on the Defence cash cow

ASI gets on the Defence cash cow

Australian IT manufacturer and integrator ASI Solutions is celebrating after earning a slice of a $20 million Defence contract.

Network Appliance won the preferred-supplier deal to standardise storage technology across the Department of Defence from a short-list of three vendors. The three-year contract will see its hardware, software and services installed at approximately 150 sites across the country.

It is great news for ASI Solutions, which will act as a systems integrator and offer national support services. Managing director Ken Lowe believes it will pave the way for more big government business in the future.

"For Defence to have a preferred supplier is amazing because it doesn't normally do that and there must be a reason for it," he said. "They haven't just looked at what they need now, they've spent 18 months on a strategy for the next seven to 10 years that will be easy to manage and enable them to grow."

ASI has been working with Network Appliance for the past four years and has been a preferred Defence supplier since 1994. Lowe feels the $20 million figure tagged to the new deal is conservative and is excited about the further opportunities it will create.

"We introduced Network Appliance into Defence in 1999 and it's already been a very successful story," he said.

"This deal is a catalyst to stimulate further interest in other areas because when Defence has been through such a long and arduous process it means a lot of people in Canberra and other governments across Australia will be taking note," Lowe said.

"The difficult part has been evangelising the product because many people are fixed on certain solutions. But NAS [network-attached storage] is starting to be accepted. It is extremely rewarding from my point of view that we hopped on the horse back in 1998, when Network Appliance was the only NAS solution out there. Now it can't be ignored."

It is the first time Defence has standardised an IT solution across the Information Services Branch but there are plans to adopt the approach in other areas.

"Standardisation is a critical factor in Defence's IT strategy and it expects to achieve significant cost savings, not just from consolidating storage technology, but also from the human aspects -- one set of training, one set of support and one skills base," said Michael Burnie, managing director of Network Appliance Australia/NZ.

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