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Cost-effective access to technology

THE opening of several business technology centres in Perth will give companies access to the latest high-end technology solutions on a pay-per-use basis.

The advantage of outsourcing is already well understood by businesses, and companies now have the chance to access high-end hardware and IT services with the opening of the Executive Briefing Centre at the Curtin University of Technology last week.

The centre, a joint partnership between the university, Optus and BankWest, features the latest telecommunications and e-business technologies such as satellite phones, video conferencing and plasma televisions. It follows on the heels of similar centres in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

According to Optus, the centre is to become a focal point for developing e-business in WA, nationally and internationally. The emphasis is on allowing people from business and government to see it operating in a business environment and to get a hands-on experience of the technology.

The centre also will help to build the technology reputation of Curtin and showcase Optus’ latest products and services.

“What we’re trying to show here is that we are not just a telecommunications company, we’re a company that is providing solutions to corporate Australia,” Optus managing director of business Chris Hancock said.

“Whether that be small to medium enterprises right up to your large organisations like your BankWests. In terms of our business, and shifting our focus from voice to data (technology), it is a really important component to what helps our business grow and develop over the next four or five years.”

Although partly a branding and reputation building exercise, the EBC would be expected to pay its way.

“We’re obviously hoping that a lot of business takes place here,” Mr Hancock said.

One business keen to get involved is Clifton and Associates, which recently opened the Perth branch of its national chain of high-end computer training rooms. Companies can outsource their staff training to the facility, which offers full-time tech support and high spec PCs. Using a technique known as ‘ghosting’, a company’s specific software can be loaded onto the PCs and be ready within minutes.

The rooms are marketed as a boutique training facility or a ‘techno hotel’ and feature the same interior colour schemes as facilities in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland.

“It is a high-end training facility and we might be seen as boutique, but in terms of pricing we are still very competitive,” Clifton and Associates New Zealand general manager Geoff Reid said.

He said the company did not plan to poach clients from other CBD-based training facilities. He said Clifton and Associates provided the facilities and hardware for training, not the trainers.

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