Acer brings channel in on TAS and ACT deals

Acer brings channel in on TAS and ACT deals

Acer Computer Australia has earned a spot on the desktop supply panel of the Department of Education, Youth and Family Services (DEYFS) in the ACT as well as becoming a preferred supplier for desktops and servers to the Department of Education in Tasmania (DET).

The ACT deal, worth $15 million over three years, is shared between Acer and TodayTech and will be fulfilled by Acer channel partner Dataflex. The contract includes provisioning, after-sales service and support.

In the case of Tasmania, a preferred supply contract does not guarantee sales, so Acer's partners (TOPS, Alpha West and Corporate Express) will have to market the brand aggressively, especially since it is predominantly a Compaq state.

Michael Cefai, Acer's government and education manager, estimates the vendor will generate sales of around 3,500 units a year.

Cefai said the DET win is particularly exciting as Acer has only recently opened its premises in Hobart and has only created two permanent positions there so far. To some extent, this made the involvement of channel partners necessary. "We needed them for marketing on the ground," he said, adding that states with Labor governments tend to favour local provisioning.

Cefai said Acer has "gone in very, very aggressively in this deal" and is likely to make more profit on trickle-down business rather than initial sales. "Government and education drive a hard bargain, but there is such a big flow-on effect in Catholic schools, universities and TAFEs," he said.

At the same time, he claims resellers will still reap double-digit margins.

The recent announcement, which furthers Acer's goal of dominance in the education and government sector, is something of an about-face; the tier-two vendor caused a ruckus in March by shutting its channel partners out of a 20,000-unit supply contract with the Department of Education in Victoria. Still, Cefai said channel partners have achieved around 7,000 unit sales on the back of the DET Victoria deal in metropolitan Melbourne alone in the past eight months.

"We want to replicate in Tasmania and ACT what we did in DET Victoria, only using the channel," Cefai said.

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