Panera Bread is one of my favorite places to go to eat and get work done. If I just want to eat, I love Smash Burger.
Staples is one of my favorite retailers to browse. In the same way that my wife might love to browse around Macy’s or some other giant department store, I love to glide my hands over the humming and glowing technology at Staples.
The Staples web site is also quite good.
However, there’s a side to Staples that I did not know about, and you might not have known about it either. Staples has an entire division dedicated to consult and manage the technology of business customers.
STOP!!! I’m not talking about the green shirted Easy Tech guys and gals in the Staples retail stores. But this is a 100% computer consulting division.
Jim Lippie, Vice President of Staples Network Services explained that Staples has three divisions:
- International and stores overseas
- North American Delivery (delivery hundreds of thousands of office products to businesses every day)
Back in 2006 Staples acquired a computer consulting company to expand its assistance to businesses, in the area of technology consulting and management. This part of the company is specifically designed for business with 10 – 250 employees.
This unit serves an average size business of 40 – 50 employees, who pay about $2,700 a month for Staples to maintain their technology. The managed services Staples provides are: anti-spam, anti-virus, anti-spyware all wrapped in 24/7/365 support. Staples technicians also go on site, on a pre-scheduled or as needed basis.
I wondered why Staples does not cross market this service in Staples stores and Jim explained that that average sized business who come to the Staples stores have have 1 – 5 employees. Staples network customers are usually larger, at 10 – 50 employees.
There are a LOT of companies providing managed services – CMIT Solutions; Dell Managed Services and many local solution providers who sell their own managed services solutions, such as Green House IT.
While it can be hard, at first blush to differentiate why you should choose one provider over another, Jim said that one differentiating factor with Staples network solutions is the people. As in Staples retail stores (friendly, courteous, etc). Jim’s management works hard to ensure that each person hired is not only technically competent, but also has good character and is pleasant to work with.
So the next time you visit Staples and think to press the “that’s easy button” – know that there is an entire army of technicians who are at your disposal for needs, beyond staples, pens and paper.
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