Support As A Service: Dell, GeekSquad, DirectPointe….so many choices

helpbutton.jpgLast week, Dell launched a “new and improved” blend of support options providing businesses with a range of two types of customizable support options. This offering is Dell’s very aggressive push to offer a full suite of offerings from service, to support, to installation to hardware for businesses – direct from Dell.

What does this mean for your business? Your choices of who to go for support and advice for your small business have increased. This can be confusing as you have more choices of where to buy technology from and who to provide the support. But it’s good as the breadth of support offerings means companies will be fighting for your business.
Let’s first have a look at what Dell is offering, then look at what is offered by competing service providers.

Dell’s support offerings, detailed here, include a range of options.
Dell’s two offerings include:
ProSupport for IT, an offering designed for technical experts, includes 24/7 support options such as Fast-Track Dispatch, a service that speeds resolution for certified IT professionals by quickly dispatching parts and Dell technicians to their location.
For organizations without a dedicated IT department, such as some small- to medium-sized businesses there is ProSupport for End-Users includes how-to software and collaborative support for common applications and tasks such as Microsoft Windows Small Business Server, Intuit QuickBooks and wireless access configuration. Additionally, direct access to certified technicians in the Dell Expert Center help customers focus on their business, not their IT.
One thing that makes Dell’s offerings uniquely distinct from its main competitor, HP, is that the much of the service is offered direct from Dell and not through local computer consultants. This does not mean none of the service is offered through local consultants, but the entire process is managed and fulfilled via Dell. Of course you could START with a relationship with a local consultant who happens to purchase and service hardware from Dell.
HP’s support web site is here .
For small and medium sized businesses in particular, HP offers a Business Support Center portal with links to a variety of options to get support for HP hardware. HP has another link, “Small and Medium Business Services” which contains links to HP’s range of services – phone, chat or HP consultants. The third and final link under the link for small and medium sized businesses segment is online services where HP offers a range of online services. Although this link is under the small and medium sized business segment the description is that it’s focused
Lenovo’s offerings, found here are clear and easy to understand. LEL – Lenovo Expert’s Live is clearly outlined and offers a wide range of expert advice over the phone.
If your computer goes down or you have serious problems with your network or some other problem, your local consultant is the best choice if you are an HP customer. HP does offer over the phone support, like every PC vendor does, but the thrust of their support is through their local authorized partners.
If you are a Dell or Lenovo customer you can expect direct support from these vendors, they serve as your outsourced IT department for the most part.
Don’t forget Microsoft’s army of Small Business Specialists. These (mostly) guys are 100% focused on small businesses and you’ll find they focus on Microsoft software and are often resellers and/or partners of Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gateway, Toshiba, or other hardware vendors as well.
If you want to grow your business, it’s best to not spend your time on the phone solving your own computer problems. Work with a local computer consultant who can manage your entire IT Infrastructure.
Companies such as DirectPointe and The Utility Company remotely manage your technology for one low fee.
CMIT Solutions, Geek Squad and GeeksOnCall work through a franchise of local computer consultants who provide local support and consulting, blended with remote pro-active management offerings.