3Com and partners target school market

Aiming to plunder what it sees as a prosperous market for new networking equipment, 3Com last week launched the Education Industry Program (EIP) and began recruiting resellers as EIP Business Partners.

"We have a global focus on education. In fact, it's our number one vertical market," said Murray Baum, national education manager for 3Com Australia.

While Baum claimed that 3Com had already experienced considerable success in the education arena in Australia, including a significant win with Queensland Education in partnership with network integrator NetStar. However, with the launch of EIP it would now attack the market in a strategic and planned fashion.

Among the initiatives that are a part of the program is a national roadshow and various direct mail campaigns. It will also leverage off its NetPrep program, a networking course designed to "take students to careers", and its NetDay Grant Program which saw 3Com offer 50 one-time grants of networking products aimed at bringing schools online.

EIP Business Partners will receive education leads generated by these initiatives as well as marketing support including multimedia demonstration kits. Participating resellers also get access to special EIP product and service pricing, Baum said.

3Com believes there are significant opportunities for both 3Com and partners in the education space as schools look to roll out multimedia-based curricula.

"We're looking to get business partners working strategically in education and understanding why schools and other educational institutions are putting in new networks," he said.

"New learning technologies are about taking existing course curricula and delivering that electronically and that is what is driving the need for more complex networks."

To qualify, resellers need to present 3Com with a brief business plan outlining their strategies and ambitions in the education market.

"We want to have a clear understanding of what the reseller is trying to achieve so we can best work together towards that goal," Baum said. "It will also help us minimise any channel conflict."

Resellers are also required to have at least one pre-sales staff in each state enrolled on 3Com's Master of Network Science degree and have a sales specialist who has completed the 3Star online sales training. "With the assistance of dedicated EIP Business Partners, 3Com wants to connect more learners to information that any other partnership," Baum said.

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