Computacenter has won the contract to provide online purchasing services to around 500 companies associated with Lloyds of London.
The companies will have direct access to 20,000 products and services via Computacenter's Citedirect procurement portal, launched last week in conjunction with IT Direct, the IT buying arm of Lloyds of London.
Under a three-year contract, Computacenter will provide a procurement gateway for companies affiliated to Lloyds, similar to the government's GCAT catalogue of preferred suppliers.
"We see this as a great opportunity to get into a new marketplace in a cost effective way," said Joe Edwards, director for retail finance sector at Computacenter.
"The majority of these companies are not existing customers and over time they will buy into the portal."
He said he expects the deal to generate millions of pounds of new business and that Computacenter's overheads would reduce over time. The businesses will retain their current suppliers but this will be an alternative.
Customers pay £225 per user annually and receive support from a dedicated Computacenter account management team.
The service will give subscribers access to products ranging from consumables right up to Unix server systems.
Edwards said the portal gives subscribers quick, easy and cost effective access to products. "IT Direct has negotiated the deal on behalf of all the companies and will get a better deal as a group."
He said the company recognises the importance of face-to-face contact with customers and for certain sales the account team will be on hand.
Richard Ashmore, managing director at reseller Deverill, said for resellers without the resources of Computacenter it is a challenge. "We provide online ordering for products but services is more difficult."
He said the innovation-based relationship between a reseller and its customers could be damaged.
"If it's something they have done 300 times before it's fine, but how do you tell them about upgrades? And there is a danger of losing contact with customers," he said.
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