The public sector has once again been a cash cow for the channel, with Alcatel reseller Freedom Communications winning a contract from Trafford Borough Council, its biggest deal yet.
The council is aiming to meet its 2005 e-government obligations, and the seven-figure contract for supplying a hybrid telephony system will be shared between Freedom and EDS. Freedom will provide the voice skills and EDS the data capabilities.
The system, which uses eight Alcatel OmniPCX Enterprise systems, is worth almost £1m to Freedom and includes a four-year maintenance contract.
Tom Perry, head of marketing at Freedom, said the contract is shared with EDS as part of Alcatel's Synergy initiative, which sees voice and data specialists teaming up to provide voice over IP systems.
EDS became a partner with Freedom when it purchased the Memorex Telex group, a Freedom Synergy partner, as part of its acquisition of Systematics in 2001.
"The contract was won by EDS but as part of our Synergy partnership we were brought in to do the voice side of the deal," said Perry. "We offer EDS niche voice skills. It is good for a company like us because it is helping us to grow."
He said the firm has already picked up business through its relationship with EDS, including a deal with retailer Argos.
Local government is an area of focus for Freedom. "We are seeing more councils updating their voice and data systems. We have put a lot of money into the local government vertical and it is beginning to pay off," Perry said.
Maurice Lee, managing director of reseller Premises Networks, said voice and data resellers working together is a good way to create extra business.
"We have data and voice skills but in bigger deals we work with networking integrator Pinnacle," he said. "It's a two-way relationship that works very well."
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