We recently sat down with Tim Boltz, Sales Director at Carahsoft, to discuss the new agreement and the benefits for E&I members.
In your opinion, what are the main benefits the E&I Carahsoft contract offers our members?
This contract vehicle provides access to Carahsoft’s entire cloud portfolio, which is comprised of major cloud service providers and emerging technologies to ensure members can find innovative vendors to meet their needs. With this breadth comes freedom of choice – organizations can choose between multiple solutions to fulfill their requirements and find the right match to their unique use cases. The consumption-based model and competitive discounting under this agreement also allows E&I members to choose the procurement pathway that best fits their institution’s policies.
What are your main objectives for the E&I Carahsoft contract?
Carahsoft and our partners are committed to working side-by-side with E&I to create a streamlined distribution channel for members and support them through every step of the procurement process. We treat our customers’ success as our success and therefore offer additional support beyond order management and fulfillment, including installation guidance by certified professionals and documentation for operating and troubleshooting. In addition, our relationship with many leading cloud solution providers means that we are able to advise on the latest developments and best practices within the industry to keep members better informed.
Why is this agreement with E&I important to Carahsoft and your technology manufacturers (OEMs)?
Carahsoft is committed to supporting the technology needs of education and healthcare, and our agreement with E&I enables us to connect members with the latest solutions for cloud and additional verticals. As part of Carahsoft’s portfolio of innovative products and services, our OEMs value the opportunity to work with new customers and see their solutions solving pain points and supporting missions firsthand. The flexible terms and equitable discounts offered under this contract allow Carahsoft to create a direct distribution channel between our OEMs and E&I members to ensure that we are delivering solutions as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
From your perspective, what is the difference between a distributor and a reseller?
A distributor is a central conduit for procuring a solution and maintains a direct partnership with the manufacturer. Many resellers may offer the same solution but will not typically have as close of a relationship with the OEM. Carahsoft is a top distributor in the education space due to many factors, including: 1-our expansive portfolio of products and services, 2-the partnerships we maintain with the hundreds of technology manufacturers whose solutions make up this portfolio, and 3-the expertise and order management services offered by our dedicated Education Team. We also team with our reseller partners to provide additional support around implementation and deployment, and to reach new customers that may otherwise be unable to access these solutions.
What differentiates Carahsoft from your main competitors in education?
Carahsoft has been involved in the education space for many years, allowing us to better understand how the needs of higher education and K-12 differ from other markets we serve. Carahsoft is able to leverage our network of reseller and consulting partners to offer additional technical/implementation support beyond our pre-sales technical capabilities, and our commitment to providing end-user training on the solutions we sell is unique in the industry. We have worked in public sector procurement since our founding in 2004, and we have been able to apply this contracting expertise to the education space to optimize procurement processes. This ensures our customers receive tremendous value from the technology implemented at their institutions.
Tell us about your experience in education and how that benefits our members.
Our dedicated Education Team has worked to understand the ins and outs of this market, including the distinctions between higher education and K-12 and faculty vs. student requirements. Our Education Team is large, more than 100 individuals strong, and has decades of experience supporting universities of all sizes and K-12 school districts. We combine this insight with our mission to help organizations meet their goals and achieve new efficiencies with their technology deployments. At Carahsoft, our customers’ needs are our #1 priority, and we have built out expedited quote turnaround capabilities and 24-hour support lines as part of our efforts to better support them.
How will the teams at Carahsoft, your technology OEMs, and E&I work together to meet our members’ needs?
Carahsoft and our technology and reseller partners are committed to supporting E&I’s mission of providing an exceptional member experience and helping institutions save time and money. By working closely with E&I, we will ensure we are meeting expectations around order fulfillment and providing full visibility into activity on this contract. We are also working to educate our teams and vendors around best practices for utilizing this contract vehicle through webinars and additional trainings, which supports our goal of streamlining the procurement process for members.