This weekend I’m at Harry Brelsford’s 6th Annual SMB Nation, a gathering of about 500 computer consultants, focused on serving the technology needs of small businesses. Although this conference is for your local consultant, it should also be important to you.
David Brown, general manager of channel server products and director of marketing for Intel’s Enterprise Platforms and Services division gave a one hour keynote making the case for why IT consultants should continue to partner with Intel for computer needs.
A lot of attention is focused on the top tier PC vendors – Dell, HP, Lenovo – in regards to their small business initiatives, however, the bread and butter, the foundation of IT support for smaller businesses across the United States is local IT consultants. Of course CDW, Dell and other companies offer national computer support services as well and compete with and support (at the same time) local computer consultants.
David’s case to the gathered small business owners was that Intel has a range of processor to meet the needs of their customers – from businesses with the most basic needs to businesses needing multiple servers and processor intensive database processing power.
At breakfast today I sat down with Monterey, California based IT consultant Jack Herbirg, who like many local consultants runs a solo business. I asked him if he was considering moving to Dell’s partner program. AT this time he’s not. He likes building his own computers (although he admits it does take up valuable amounts of his time), and he simply loves Intel’s support. His experience with Dell has not been so good.
Jack explained that one of his concerns was a competitor coming in and offering managed service, for a flat fee to his customers, which he does not yet offer his customers. I explained to him that his trusted relationship with his customer is what is most important and that his customers would not rush away from him at the drop of a hat. Jack also explained that based on customer demand he’s had to learn an Apple product – the IPhone. LIke me and other consultants he has not had to pay much attention to any Apple product.
Finally, we also discussed the role that “free software” such as Google Apps was playing in his business. Google Apps is free for non-profits and overall costs less than installing a full scale email server.
Look for more coverage of SMBNation throughout this weekend.