Toshiba signs Cyclone as first direct partner in three years

Toshiba signs Cyclone as first direct partner in three years

Toshiba has added Cyclone to its tier one partner base, the only addition since signing Datacom in August 2006.

“It’s a very rare occasion we bring on a director partner. It certainly isn’t something we do every day,” says Toshiba country manager Gary Wicks.

In fact, Cyclone managing director Richard Morgan says it approached Toshiba about a partnership five years ago, but was “turned away at the door”.

“They don’t just take on direct accounts willy nilly,” says Morgan.

Both Toshiba and Cyclone say the partnership will capitalise on Cyclone’s strengths in the tertiary education space.

“The education market for us is pretty important already, but we could see the penetration they had was strong in some areas we didn’t have,” says Wicks. “They’ve got a stronger reach into tertiary than we have. Toshiba has strong reach into all schools with the TELA [Ministry of Education Laptops for Teachers] programme and through other partners that work in education.”

Cyclone’s customers include several major universities, tertiary institutes, two large Auckland schools and corporate firms outside the education market, according to its website.

Morgan says Cyclone identified Toshiba as having a good reputation, particularly in the education sector. He stresses it was not dissatisfied with another of its current PC brands – Lenovo – but wanted to add a complementary vendor.

“For our target market segment of tertiary and education, generally netbooks have become a much bigger part of the product mix we’re selling to them. It was wise to have another brand to offer.”

As well as offering Lenovo, Cyclone is an Intel premier partner and offers the Classmate PC. It is also a Microsoft Gold partner, an IBM business partner, an Adobe Gold partner, as well as offering the PC Locs range of trolleys and cages. It also provides VMware software.

Cyclone has offices in the three main centres and was established in 1988. Its annual turnover is about $25 million and it employs 36 staff nationally, says Morgan. He adds tertiary education work comprises about 75 to 80 percent of Cyclone’s business.

Wicks says Toshiba’s tier one partners have to meet criteria beyond revenue, such as integrity and market penetration. “They ticked all the boxes,” he says. “We really believe this will add to our revenue and to theirs.”

Toshiba’s other tier one partners are The Laptop Company North and South Island, Gen-i, Axon, Datacom and Fujitsu, with tier two partners serviced by distributor Ingram Micro.

The PC vendor established a two-tier channel model in 2004, and at the time had The Laptop Company, Portables Plus, Gen-i, Axon, Fujitsu, ATL Systems and Able Business Machines among its direct partners.

ATL Systems has since been acquired by Maclean Computing, while Portables Plus’ IT business was adopted by Lexel Systems earlier this year, with the laptop specialist choosing to focus instead on its Digital Mobile franchises. Able Business Machines amalgamated to become part of Connect NZ in 2006.

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