Earlier this month I sat with Erik Dithmer, Dell’s Vice President of Sales for Small & Medium Business. He explained to that Dell’s struggle is getting businesses, especially small and medium sized businesses to see Dell as more than a seller of products, but to know that Dell is a solution provider helping businesses purchase, install and manage their technology.
Tim Griffin, VP of SMB Global Services talks more about this here:
Dell’s challenge is more than just branding. It’s got a slew of other solution providers all vying to be technology advisers to small and medium businesses.
In April 2009 Dell launched it’s managed services where business can pay a flat rate, per PC (or device) per month.
Texas Based CMIT Solutions has a growing network of consultant franchises who are aggressively marketing their services to a local market. CMIT, like Dell, offers hardware, flat rate 24/7 monitoring and maintenance, data recovery and backup, and hosting.
I frequent Staples stores and their black and green shirted Easy Tech technicians are available to help with a range of consumer and business technology products and services.
From time to time I see BestBuy’s GeekSquad roaming around in their white VW Beatle Cars. GeekSquad techs provide support and installation services for businesses all around the US.
There is also a number of online services, such as Plum Choice or AT&T’s Tech Support 360, which provide a variety of remote tech support solutions.
Online retailer CDW has a huge inventory of technology hardware and software, can provide you with a dedicated adviser (or account representative) and also send technicians to your office for support or installation.
Last but not least, remember your local technology consultant. These are the independent tech advisers such as Green House IT, eMazzanti Technologies Nodesphere, Isko Consulting or Net@Work – just a few in the New York area who provide a range of services to businesses.
Find more local consultants, affiliated with Microsoft, at Microsoft’s Small Business Web Site
What does this all mean to you?
This means that if you plan on using technology as a tool to grow your business, as you should, you need to tap into the skills of a technology solution provider who can help you. Going from place to place and getting advice from this person and that person is only going to be damaging to your business.
It’s like having 10 different doctors operate on you or care for you – it’s a mess.
Also keep in mind that all solution providers are not the same. Some might be able to help you buy an external hard disk but have no clue how to advise a 15 person law firm in their overall technology needs.
One thing that just about EVERY business should have is a flat rate monthly fee managed services option, which takes care of routine monitoring and maintenance of your computers, network and peripherals. Beyond this, it’s important to work with a technology adviser who can ensure that on a regular basis you are utilizing technology as best you can.