AWA wins 'million dollar' 3M services contract

Having long since abandoned its radio and television heritage, the AWA of 2006 is riding the IT services wave by stitching up a new deal with 3M's local library systems division.

AWA provides the service and support requirements for manufacturing company 3M's library customers including all warranties, maintenance programs, and new installations such as RFID technology.

Michele Collins, 3M Australia's library systems division sales and marketing manager, said AWA was chosen because of its "national service infrastructure".

"[AWA's] in-house service information system lets us see exactly how our customers are being looked after and also helps us to learn more about their technical and service requirements," Collins said.

John Dougall, AWA's executive chairman, said the deal with 3M, valued "somewhere less than a million a year", is a good example of keeping IT management in-house, but contracting the deployment and restoration of library management systems.

AWA's strengths are now in desktop and network services and support, and in certain situations is "getting up to first-tier" service provider status.

"We're not going to compete against IBM, CSC, or EDS, and see ourselves as a subcontractor in the stuff we're good at," Dougall said. "If they want to contract direct desktop support then we can provide that support, but if we're in a relationship with one of the outsourcers and they bid for the businesses we would bid with them."

Dougall believes AWA's in-house developed support system is what won it the 3M deal. Dubbed "AWAre", it is an online, real-time call management system with a relational database backend.

"It's a call and asset management system which we can quickly modify to suit customer requirements," he said. "Most calls come in electronically and AWAre gives full visibility of what is said on the call."

With $35 million in annual revenue, Dougall hopes to double the size of AWA over the next five years by continuing to re-invest in the business.

"We're investing capital in networks and people and believe we can take business from the competition and provide flexible, inexpensive solutions to other OEMs," he said.

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