Distributor Alstom IT unveiled its enterprise management centre yesterday in an effort to diversify its business in the face of narrowing margins on box moving.
The multi billion dollar project is designed to assist channel partners in selling e-business solutions by adding helpdesk capabilities, network management and complete enterprise solution management to their current offerings.
"We've added another value-add to our distribution model and given our resellers access to it so they can on-sell it as part of their solution without having to incur the upfront capital costs," said Laurie Sellers, chief executive of ALSTOM IT.
ALSTOM will split the profits of on-going business with resellers at a proposed margin of 15-20 per cent. This figure is yet to be finalised.
"When a customer takes on an e-business solution they suddenly have a growing dependency on performance and availability, therefore network management becomes critically important," says Sellers.
"By offering the channel the ability to bundle a service with the products that they sell as part of their total solution we're hoping to give them the edge to win business, that they'll end up with more satisfied customers and they'll make better margins out of the whole solution."
"We're offering resellers a service related product to sell in a booming marketplace with high margins. It's also an offering that they otherwise may not be able to afford to build themselves."
"When customers come out to tender for a solution they ask questions about who's going to maintain and manage the solution. If you can't answer those questions you might get ruled out fairly early on in the process. We're enabling our resellers to answer the tenders completely and comprehensively to stay in the game and use it as a potential differentiator to win business."
Sellers believes ALSTOM has pinpointed and harnessed the need to adapt value-add services to remain competitive.
"Distributors are living off the smell of an oily rag because margins are slim just selling products. We have to respond to the needs of the market but we, and our resellers together can take advantage of the opportunities these changes bring."
Housed in ALSTOM's corporate headquarters at Pymble the centre is manned by a team of 40.
Its infrastructure uses Sun, NEC and SGI hardware, Nortel and Cisco networking equipment, HP OpenView, Veritas and Trend Micro anti-virus software and Net Reality for bandwidth utilisation and packet shaping.