If the lines between companies in the IT industry haven't blurred enough, global networking integrator Equant has turned the tables on distribution giant Ingram Micro to become its customer in a major agreement which sees Equant rolling out Ingram Micro's global intranet network.
Equant has secured a large contract to install an intranet network for voice, data and video conferencing services for Ingram Micro's 215 offices in 30 countries. Based on Equant's Intranet Connect, the network will also enable Ingram Micro to link to its suppliers and customers.
Although the dollar value of the deal has not been released, Equant's regional general manager, Beth Jackson, conceded it is "a very significant and long-term agreement".
Jackson told ARN that Ingram Micro rejected frame relay and router-based solutions proposed by other networking companies, instead opting for an IP-based intranet.
"They wanted the flexibility, strength and security of an intranet,' said Jackson, "one that provides business strength networking."Other factors driving Ingram Micro's decision, according to Jackson, were value for money, relative ease of deployment and class of service that the single platform network can offer.
While the intranet will link Ingram Micro offices worldwide and include many of the distributor's suppliers, Jackson claims the network will become "ultimately an e-procurement device".
"I believe, as companies start to realise that, as they're setting up expensive networks for themselves, they can leverage this [investment] better by incorporating their business partners," Jackson said.
"The plan is to have 99 per cent of the network ready the first year," said Jackson, with the first sites being installed by the end of the year.
"Ingram Micro selected Equant because of the company's global presence," said Ingram Micro's CIO, Guy Abramo. However, regional Ingram Micro officials were not available for comment at time of press, regarding the effects the network will have for Ingram Micro in the local market.