Reseller CAE says its inclusion in the latest schools ICT framework will help "establish its credibility" in the education market.
CAE was one of 21 suppliers to gain a berth in the ICT Services for Education framework, which the Crown Commercial Service estimates will have a £300m purse over its four-year lifespan.
Talking to CRN, CAE managing director Justin Harling said CAE's inclusion would allow it to service education customers directly rather than having to work through a larger provider, as it had to do under the previous BECTA framework.
"Education answers for about 20 per cent of our business, and off the back of this – having not been on this framework previously – we have significant hopes that it will become more of a significant part of our business because of it," Harling said.
"For us it is a real game changer because it establishes our credibility in that space."
The new framework is geared towards the booming academy sector, with bidders having been required to mock up a bid for a fictional free school owned by a trust.
The make-up of the framework also has an SME slant, with 11 of the 21 suppliers that made the grade – including CAE – classed as SMEs.
Harling agreed the new framework has moved away from the "all-encompassing large building contracts" of its BECTA predecessor.
"You have this new breed of school, and for a new breed of school you need a new breed of solution and service to go with it. They are better addressing the current need," he said.
"[The framework] is geared towards a more flexible, agile service-based reseller and partners as opposed to being geared towards large organisations, consultants, builders or manufacturers, for example. There is a big positive there, getting closer to the people who deliver these solutions, and you get a better result doing that."
Harling said CAE will have a different focus from some of the bigger names on the framework. Other resellers that made the cut include Kelway, Insight, Misco and RM.
"It is not one of those ones where there are 20 other people all offering the same thing," he said. "There will be people on there looking to shift volumes, but for us, it is much more specifically about the managed services piece."
Harling also said the framework had come in for some "unfair criticism" from smaller suppliers who felt CCS had given them insufficient time to construct their bids.
"Frankly, we thought that was a good process to figure out who was committed to education as an area and who actually has the skills to be able to do it," he said.
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