NetOptions the winner in Victorian election

NetOptions the winner in Victorian election

NetOptions has beaten a raft of direct-selling PC vendors to supply 500 Toshiba notebooks to the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) for the state's upcoming election.

The deal, worth in excess of $1 million, saw NetOptions roll out 500 Toshiba notebooks pre-loaded with the VEC's standard operating environment (SOE) in just 72 hours.

Toshiba ISD general manager Ralph Stadus said the deal was a major vindication for the IT channel, as the VEC account had long been an "IBM house" and was contested by all of the major direct-selling PC vendors.

"The direct vendors were not flexible enough in both the business terms they offered and their logistics capability," Stadus said.

The notebooks will be used in the dispersed polling stations where Victorians will be asked to vote on November 30. The hardware had to be rolled out much sooner, however, as the machines were also used for pre-polling.

The logistics of the operation proved particularly challenging. Rolling out the pre-loaded machines saw NetOptions' staff stretched to working 18-hour days to complete the deal within the tight 72-hour timeframe.

NetOptions managing director Richard McAlary said his company proved to the VEC that it had experience in fulfilling the unique requirements of the deal, after winning similar bids for one-off sporting events and conferences.

"We have a lot of experience in events that have high IT requirements over relatively short amounts of time," he said.

Effectively the deal sees the notebook PCs being rented by the VEC over the time it requires their use, but neither Stadus nor McAlary were keen to discuss where the machines will end up once the deal is done. Stadus said the flexibility of the agreement was the competitive edge that NetOptions and Toshiba had over their direct peers. "We have won some significant short-term deals in this fashion, such as the CHOGM [Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting] rollout we won with our channel partners earlier this year."

While NetOptions was largely responsible for the deal, McAlary said the reseller owes a good deal of credit to its new vendor partner Toshiba and distributor Ingram Micro. "We primed and set up everything, but we could not have done it without their support," he said.

It is one of the first large Toshiba deals NetOptions has won. The vendor and reseller have been working on closer relations since earlier this year when NetOptions acquired the Queensland interests of Powerlan and Laptop Land, both of which were direct Toshiba partners and authorised Toshiba "ProCare" centres.

"We are the newest Toshiba direct partner but already we have become one of their most important partners in the country," McAlary said. "This is the first of many new deals."

The deal also marks NetOptions' growing geographical presence as a company. Traditionally based in Queensland, a recent equity deal with office fit-out company Schivallo Group has seen the reseller branch out across the country. "We are now doing a significant proportion of our business in Victoria," McAlary said.

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