It’s a far cry from Amazon, but an emerging Yorkshire-based company claims to be breaking new ground in online SME sales.
Servers Direct is a website-based business that delivers servers and associated support services to small and medium-sized businesses.
Nick Glynne, easyserver’s managing director said that the most small businesses have gone to the local VAR as there has been a reluctance to buy more sophisticated products, such as servers, online.
"VARs will buy more expensive kit than we do – we have have the advantage of buying in bulk – and because they only sell one server a week, they have to make a lot of margin on that."
Glynne said that Servers Direct offered a less expensive alternative, not only by offering cheaper machines but also by offering a complete service to a neglected sector. "The SMEs is a market that has been largely ignored by the large players," he said.
He said that the company would able to deal with the techno-fear that smaller companies had.
"SMEs are very worried about the various features associated with servers, about RAID, about dual-core or quad processors etc. We aim to make it easier for them; the typical customer will have a server, maybe 15 PCs, Microsoft Small Business Server and SQL Server. They want the hardware but don’t want to be bamboozled by jargon. The only thing missing is the service. We offer remote support – these days you don’t have to be near the office to offer support,” he said.
Glynne conceded that it wasn’t possible for Server Direct’s customers to dispense with in-house IT staff entirely. ”You don’t need an IT specialist, but you do need someone with basic knowledge.
Servers Direct offers products from a variety of leading vendors, including Dell, IBM, HP, Acer, Fujitsu-Siemens and Microsoft. The company doesn’t yet offer any Linux, believing that the small business market will stick the technologies that it knows.
The company will offer full remote monitoring from its head office, using a product called Desktop Authority from ScriptLogic. Glynne believes that the company will be able to keep tabs on all the problems that hit their customers. “In fact, the challenge for us is how will we able to demonstrate how successful we’ve been if there have been no issues to report."
Glynne claimed that there was no other online company in the UK or US offering such a complete service to small business. He said that it was important that Servers Direct wasn't seen as just another box shifter - "I don't want Servers Direct to become just another hardware supplier." he said.