Dell’s Vostro Line: Walt Mossberg – “Nothing Special”. Dell – “First Step of Better Things to Come”

In July, Dell launched a new line of computers for small businesses – Vostro.
The Vostro line offers a special technical support line, no trial-ware software, free online backup, no questions asked 30 day return policy.
Walt Mossberg tested a mid-range computer and feels the new Vostro line is just “ok” but not necessarily deserving a special brand recognition.
Dell’s response is that the Vostro line is the first step in a series of steps that we’ll see from Dell in reaching small businesses with targeted programs specifically for them.

Walt Mossberg writes The only real small-business innovation lies outside the product itself: a dedicated phone support staff that Dell says has been trained specifically to serve these small companies. But unless you pay extra, you’ll still be dealing with support people based outside the U.S. — in Canada and in the Philippines, far from Dell’s Texas headquarters. Only time will tell if these folks can really provide better-than-usual service.
Clearly Dell is serious about reaching the small business market.
This first launch, according to Mossberg is a bit weak. However, it’s a start towards a vision I’ve had for years. I have a dream that one day a PC Vendor (Dell’s on the right track) will offer small businesses a seamless method of support, installation and forward thinking consulting.
The “PC” is simply a tool that small businesses use for their day to day operations – but their network, their software and their mobile technology are the other 3 important pieces of the whole technology solution.
My challenge to Dell or another PC vendor is to continue to sell PC’s but also put together a comprehensive plan to provide seamless – one number to call – technology assistance to small businesses. Dell does offer this already, but I’m not sure if small businesses know what it has to offer.
Online retailer CDW, brick retailer Best Buy, HP and others can do this as well. But I’m not sure if ONE vendor is bringing these solutions together in a neat package. Even local consultants, often they’re still focused on break and fix but not strategically working with a small business to get them to the next level.
Interesting dilemma – but this is what small businesses need. A technology concierge, who they trust and can help them leverage technology as a tool to grow their business.