VAR500 Roundup: HP Wins Air Force Contract, Hitachi Teams With Wipro, And More

Summer Action

As summer kicks in, customers seem to be spending more and VARs are not only working harder, but studying their markets closely. Fiserv, for example, released a housing report, while CDW surveyed government workers about continuity planning.

Government and education markets are also picking up steam, with SAIC, CDW Government, HP Enterprise Services and Accenture each getting a piece of the action. Acquisitions and partnerships made news too, with Fiserv making an acquisition in order to expand its investment services unit, while Wipro teamed up with Hitachi Data Systems.

Hitachi, Wipro Team Up In India

Hitachi Data Systems has entered into a strategic technology collaboration with Wipro (2010 VAR500 rank: 26) to offer co-branded products and services on Hitachi Technology. The companies plan to co-develop server-storage products for the Indian market. Beginning with Hitachi’s Adaptable Modular Storage 2100 (AMS 2100) range, this partnership is the first that Hitachi has signed with any organization in India.

’Through this alliance, Wipro will offer a comprehensive server-storage proposition to its customers which will help us penetrate deeper into various verticals and establish a wider customer base,’ said Vivekanand Venugopal, (left) vice president and general manager, Hitachi Data Systems, India, in a statement.

SAIC Reports For Naval Duty

Science Applications International Corp. (2010 VAR500 rank: 12) will provide network infrastructure services to the U.S. Navy as indicated in a multi-part $502 million contract. SAIC's work will be performed primarily in San Diego, Calif.

SAIC will provide shipboard network infrastructure and related engineering support services in areas including production, engineering, and common computing environment components. These contracts are part of an overall U.S. Navy initiative to update and replace legacy computer and data networking systems aboard its surface ships and submarines. SAIC will also provide integrated logistics support, configuration management, test and evaluation, quality assurance, and installation support as required.

"We look forward to supporting the U.S. Navy as they maintain and enhance their overall shipboard information technology (IT) capabilities," said Tom Baybrook, SAIC senior vice president and business unit manager.

Accenture Earns SAP Kudos

Accenture (2010 VAR500 rank: 5) has been recognized as a market leader in a recently released study that analyzed the capabilities of firms performing SAP implementations.

"Deep client relationships and many reference accounts and mindshare, particularly at the C level, continue to drive Accenture's penetration further into its large pool of existing clients," said the IDC study.

’We’re honored to have been so highly rated, especially since the findings reflect the opinions of buyers of system integration services for SAP,’ said Mark Wilford, (left), global managing director, Accenture SAP business.

Accenture Also Readies Hong Kong ERP System

Accenture (2010 VAR500 rank: 5) will design, develop and maintain a new enterprise resource management system for the Hong Kong Housing Authority, under an eight-year, $30 million contract. The new ERP system will replace more than 20 legacy systems and is designed to improve the efficiency of the Hong Kong Housing Authority’s processes for financial management, procurement, and works management.

Under the contract, Accenture will deploy a new, fully integrated system in two phases over a three-year period, followed by an application maintenance period of five years. When fully deployed, the new system will support more than 8,000 Housing Authority users and transit centers. Currently, 50 percent of the population of Hong Kong lives in public housing units (left).

CDW Makes The Grade With Digital Curriculum

CDW Government (parent CDW, 2010 VAR500 rank: 15) is working with three school districts to help students and teachers implement digital content programs and transition away from costly, traditional textbooks that weigh down backpacks, clog lockers and strain district budgets. The schools are in San Jose, Calif. Lorain, Utah; and Hunterdon, N.J.

While the San Jose school district started with Sony Readers, the New Jersey district implemented teacher training on digital learning and Utah embraced Acer netbooks.

’Campbell Union High School District (San Jose), Lorain City Schools and Hunterdon Central School District are prime examples of how districts can use digital content to alleviate stressed budgets and technological gaps and still help students learn,’ said Bob Kirby, (left), vice president, K-12 education, CDW-G in a statement. ’Increased publisher support of digital content is coming at a time when small school budgets and increased achievement demands have administrators looking for ways to extend every dollar. CDW-G is helping schools use the technology and digital content to save precious budget dollars.’

CDW Also Surveys Workers About Continuity Plans

Ninety-three percent of federal employees believe it is important that they continue working during an emergency or disaster, according to a new survey by the Government Business Council, the research division of Government Executive Media Group, and CDW Government (2010 VAR500 rank: 15)

"Today more than ever, Federal employees rely on mobility for seamless business operations. In turn, Federal agencies can better enable employees by creating secure virtual work environments and outfitting employees with the tools they need to make remote work possible, even under challenging circumstances," Andy Lausch, (left), vice president of federal sales for CDW-G said in a statement.

While the majority of Federal employees said they could continue working remotely during an emergency, 31 percent said telework eligibility requirements and lack of coordination among agency decision makers have prevented their agencies from being better prepared to continue operations.

Fiserv Crunches Housing Trend Data

According to an analysis of home price trends by Fiserv (2010 VAR500 rank 34), housing markets are stabilizing.

"Optimism that a sustainable economic recovery is underway is driving increases in home prices across many U.S. metro areas. More and more, consumers have confidence that buying a home doesn't mean catching a falling knife," said David Stiff, chief economist, Fiserv.

The analysis is based on research of more than 375 U.S. markets based on its Fiserv Case-Shiller Indexes, which incorporate data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. California, Ohio, Michigan and Washington D.C. report home prices up from recent lows. Still, areas that were among the hardest hit -- such as Nevada, Arizona and Florida -- have a ways to go before seeing substantial improvement.

Fiserv Also Expands Investment Services Unit

Fiserv (2010 VAR500 rank: 34) has acquired AdviceAmerica, a provider of integrated advisor solutions to financial institutions and independent advisors. AdviceAmerica will become a part of the Investment Services unit of Fiserv. Financial terms were not disclosed.

AdviceAmerica is based in Fremont, Calif., with a research and development center in Bangalore, India. AdviceAmerica founder and CEO, Purna Pareek, and all employees of AdviceAmerica are expected to join Fiserv as part of the transaction.

"The acquisition advances the Investment Services strategy to be the platform of choice for the wealth management industry," said Mike Gianoni, president, Financial Institutions Group, Fiserv. "AdviceAmerica extends our capabilities into front-office applications, such as financial planning, CRM and proposal tools, that support the growing needs of financial advisors and bank trust departments."

HP Flies High With $9 Million USAF Contract

HP Enterprise Services (2010 VAR500 rank: 4) will integrate, test and deploy a Cyber Control System that will provide the U.S. Air Force strategic information and identify cyber threats.

This advanced command and control system will monitor network activity and support defensive operations in the event of an attack on the country’s information infrastructure.

The $9 million, 12-month contract provides HP infrastructure and applications integration for the construction of the CCS infrastructure.

’The U.S. Air Force needs the ability to make critical decisions about networking protection instantaneously using the most accurate information available,’ said Dennis Stolkey, senior vice president, U.S. Public Sector, HP Enterprise Services (left). ’HP’s Cyber Control System is designed specifically for these needs and shows our commitment to innovation in cyber security as well as the support of the USAF’s mission to ’Fly, fight and win in air, space and cyber space.’

Check out our recent VAR500 Roundups for more news about North America's top solution providers.