Dealer Info archief
jaargang 14, nummer 10 2004
3 september, 2004
The PC sales industry is a funny old game, as witnessed by reports from China where Dell has announced it has pulled out of the low-end PC market, preferring instead to concentrate on higher-end kit.
The Reuters newswire quotes Bill Amelio, Dell's head of Asia-Pacific operations, as saying that local PC vendors have a better grip on the entry-level Chinese market than foreign companies.
Dell's main competitors in China include Legend (aka Lenovo), as well as Great Wall Technology, HiSense and Fujian Start, but it's still deeply ironic that the direct-sell vendor has effectively been beaten at its own game...
The latest (second) quarter's figures from IDC claim to show that UK PC sales are continuing to grow quickly - more quickly, in fact, than at any time in the last four years.
According to the IT research firm, the PC market in the UK has recorded double-digit year-on-year growth for the quarter running, with shipments of 1.87 million PCs recorded during the second quarter of this year.
This level of growth translates to year-on-year sales growth of 21.4 per cent, a percentile that breaks down as 19.6 per cent desktops, 43.6 per cent notebooks.
Ian Gibbs, a research analyst with IDC's European PC team, said that a steady rise in corporate demand in the UK has been noted in the first two quarters of 2004, and the trend is expected to continue for the rest of the year. 'Commercial desktop shipments have particularly benefited from this uplift, despite the fact that increased levels of desktop replacement with notebooks are being observed as refreshes take place,' he said.
Although consumer PC sales were buoyant in the second quarter, DC says its research suggests that fierce competition is continuing in the retail and direct-sell end of the market. IDC adds that the Dixons Group - Dixons, PC World etc. - is riding high in the market, although Dell is giving the firm a run for its money, holding on to 25.7 per cent of the market.
The bad news for the indirect sales channel is that Dell is currently growing its market share at twice the rate of the overall market at 44.3 per cent year-on-year. HP, meanwhile, recovered from its first quarter decline, pushing shipments up by 12.2 per cent year-on-year, narrowing the market share
gap with Dell to 4.7 per cent. IBM did very well indeed, logging 48.6 per cent overall growth, although Fujitsu Siemens leaped from tenth to fourth position, recording a growth rate 163.8 per cent in the second quarter.
Azlan, the veteran telecom and networking distributor, is offering a raft of financial incentives for resellers to sell products and services from Alcatel, Nortel and BT. The incentives are designed to boost sales in the traditionally quiet late summer/early autumn period, just prior to the busy pre-Christmas sales period.
Dealers are being encouraged to source systems and services that include a trio of offerings in the Alcatel OmniPCX range - Compact Edition, Office and Enterprise; Nortel's Business Communication Manager (BCM) and the full range of BT Network Services. According to Alan Reeve, Azlan's business development manager, the scheme will give resellers an added incentive to take converged voice and data solutions to their customers. 'The run-in to the busy final third of the year is the ideal time to show customers the tremendous benefits that these solutions can deliver to their businesses,' he said. 'By providing resellers with the opportunity to enhance their profitability on every sale, we hope to give them the incentive they need to make that extra effort and take voice and data to the market pro-actively.'
We all know profit margins are getting tighter, but Cisco has announced an effective price rise for its maintenance and systems administration costs for dealers. The 'price changes', as Cisco likes to call them, are the result of a revamp of the IT network vendor's dealer support program, resulting in the replacement of the old one-off support fee - payable shortly after purchase - with an annual fee system. Cisco says that, for many of its users, the annual fee will be cheaper than paying the one-off support licence, but - paradoxically - also claims that the changes will allow it to offer improved levels of support for all of its customers.
Many Cisco resellers are upset with the changes, with several being quoted by Microscope, a UK IT trade weekly, as saying that they will probably have to pass the increased charges on to their customers. As well as effectively increasing the fees, the new scheme requires dealers to pass on the serial numbers and location of users' hardware and allied systems, adding to the administration involved. The price changes could squeeze some resellers in the short term, as many of Cisco's largest customers are signed up for three, four and even five year support contracts with their dealers.
Since resellers are now having to pay Cisco an annual fee for supporting these customers, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that any profit margin on such contracts will either be eroded or done away with altogether.
Complete Learning, a provider of training and IT education courses to small-to-mid-sized businesses, has announced a reseller program that it claims will give resellers access to profits from training. Training has always been something of a cinderella in the reseller channel, mainly because of the difficulty in tracking customers that go down the training route. According to Complete Learning, its Power training program changes all that, giving resellers access to a range of training courses and modules that can be integrated with reseller's existing products and services.
Announcing the reseller scheme, Richard Lown, Complete Learning's managing director, said that the 'show-me' mantra is now hear to stay in the IT industry. Many resellers, said Lown, are very dependent on services but few have
well-developed training capabilities. Those that do, tend to focus on technical subjects, such as operating systems and network management, or on applications usage.
NetServices, a mid-sized Manchester-based Internet service provider, has taken the unusual step of launching a reseller program for remote data backup and disaster recovery services. The program is interesting, since it is unusual for an ISP to offer its services in this way. NetServices, however, is an unusual mid-sized ISP in owning and having complete most of its network. Usually, it is only the largest ISP that can make such a claim. The ISP says it is now looking for a variety of indirect sales outlets, including consultants and computer networking providers, to promote and reseller its new disaster recovery and backup services. According to NetServices, reseller customers will be able to secure data at a remote site, reducing the risks associated with a catastrophic failure, as well as cutting costs and time spent investing in expensive backup technologies and managing the processes. The ISP says that its office backup and disaster recovery can be used by all businesses from small to much larger corporates with multiple sites, either in the UK or abroad. Mark Vickers, NetServices' managing director, said that the launch of the reseller program will help the reseller channel open up the disaster recovery market. 'With our services our resellers will be able to gain significant new revenue streams,' said Vickers, adding that this services are up to two thirds the cost of the competition.
IDC, 44-20-89877218, www.idc.com;
Cisco Systems UK, 44-20-88241000, www.cisco.co.uk;
Complete Learning, 44-1926-430531, www.completelearning.co.uk;
NetServices, 44-870-7530900, www.netservicesuk.com. Steve Gold (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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