IBM?s RS/6000 division has signed Sphinx CST as its first pan-European assembler, and the manufacturer has pledged to push over three-quarters of its sales through the channel.
The deal will give Vars the choice of buying configured systems from either Sphinx CST or IBM.
Paul Hayhurst, MD of Sphinx CST, said: ?Assembly enables us to create a much more flexible delivery capability and shortens our lead times.?
Although IBM deals with Ingram Micro and Bytech Systems for its RS/6000 machines, the companies are still in the process of being accredited to assemble systems.
Observers have indicated that the manufacturer is expected to take on further assembly and distribution partners. IBM is known to have been in talks with Computer 2000. Paul Weaver, IBM UK RS/6000 executive consultant, refused to comment on the possibility of a distribution deal.
Weaver claimed that IBM was happy with its three UK distributors ? Ingram Micro, Bytech and Sphinx CST ? but admitted ?it would be premature to recruit any further partners. We need a period of consolidation.?
Meanwhile, IBM, which generates 40 to 45 per cent of its sales through the channel, vowed last week that it wanted to increase this number to 65 per cent.
Hayhurst said: ?The benefit to IBM of putting RS/6000 through the channel is coverage. We aim to reach more of the market by using a distribution strategy. In the long term this percentage is expected to increase to about 75 per cent.?
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