Software, services key to PC refresh race

Software, services key to PC refresh race

The next 24 months are going to provide ample opportunities for resellers to update aging fleets of computers, but will only bear fruit for those who can add real value, according to an executive from software vendor, Altiris.

Vice-president of the fleet management software vendor, Geoff Masters, said the pipeline for new PC roll-outs was looking healthy for the first time in many years.

“There is a lot of interest in the market at the moment as many businesses are assessing whether to upgrade their desktops,” he said. “The refresh and migration cycle is starting to snowball.”

Masters said that many organisations had been given little in the way of an IT budget for a several years.

“In the time since they last upgraded their fleet, there has been a lot of consolidation in the reseller market,” he said. “The relationships they formed back then – the people who sold them the computers, those relationships have died.”

But Masters said that these new opportunities would only become available to resellers that could add real value to their infrastructure sell and be proactive in the way they seek new business.

Masters is promoting the bundling of management software as one way resellers may consider adding value when approaching these customers.

Altiris sells lifecycle management software, vendorspeak for desktop and server management software.

The tools allow IT administrators to manage patches, monitor the health and performance of hardware and software and provide remote management support. As well as OEM deals with the likes of HP and Dell, Altiris sells through systems integrators such as BCA IT, Data#3, KAZ, NST, Software Spectrum and Volante.

“When resellers act on the opportunity to refresh fleets of computers for clients, we are pushing Altiris software as a competitive edge,” he said. Masters said that software vendors duch as Altiris were becoming much more particular about the kind of resellers with which they formed relationships.

“The channel is going through some consolidation,” he said. “We tend to be developing relationships with those that are doing more than just logistics.”

“We are selective, without trying to be arrogant,” he said. “We don’t want to work with partners that drop a product on a customer’s desk and treat it as a product sale. If the product is not installed or supported properly, Altiris’ good name is left behind. If we ever hear the words “bloody Altiris” coming from someone at a help-desk, I’m dead and gone. Get a bad reputation around support and you may as well pack up and go.”

He said the vendor had been fortunate to date. When it first opened its Australian office 18 months ago, it discovered that some of its customers had been sold the software without the services to support it – just in time for the vendor to step in and remedy the situation.

“I am glad we had that early experience,” he said. “At the time I over-reacted, but looking back now I call it a formal strategy.”

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