If the lines between companies in the IT industry haven't blurred enough, Equant has turned the tables on Ingram Micro to become its customer in a major agreement which sees Equant rolling out Ingram Micro's global intranet.
Meanwhile, the global giant's Australian operation also strengthened its vendor lineup after it was announced that US-based UPS vendor American Power Conversion would use Ingram as a distributor, effective from July 17, 2000.
Ingram joins the ranks of APC's other distributors, Express Data, Tech Pacific, and Anixter.
The global networking integrator 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 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,' Jackson said, "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, then they can leverage this [investment] better by incorporating their business partners," Jackson said.
"The plan is to have 99 per cent of the network in in the first year," said Jackson, with the first sites being installed by the end of 2000.
"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 press time, regarding the effects the network will have on the Australian market.
Of the new APC deal, Ingram's Australian MD said in a press statement: "This new distribution agreement is reflective of a booming networking sector . . . our customers are requesting a broad range of networking products, including power protection."