Computer giant Dell has embarked on a ‘zero financing’ business model aimed at making it easier for businesses, particularly SMEs, to get their hands on the latest enterprise business systems.
Chris Mullan, new head of small and medium business (SMB) sales at Dell Ireland, explained that even in a recession firms need to more than ever keep up with technology trends.
However, the reality is that due to banks closing their doors to financing small businesses, and the fact that capital spending on infrastructure is being replaced by operational spend by businesses, technology firms have had to adjust their ways of selling technology, he said.
The result is that tech firms such as Dell and Microsoft are now providing financing options as part of the sales cycle.
“All businesses are finding things difficult right now, but the key message from Dell is that firms should not stand still when it comes to technology,” Mullan said.
“Businesses will need to continue to invest in order to position themselves for when the upturn comes.”
The predominant areas of investment that Mullan is seeing in the SMB landscape right now are in the areas of infrastructure and storage. “Businesses are still dealing with issues such as compliance and consolidating their storage.
“For other businesses, many have infrastructure that’s not that old and we can advise them on how to best get the most out of their existing infrastructure.
“Cash flow is becoming a top-of-mind conversation. This time last year, financing would have been at the end of the consultation process. Now, it is at the start of the conversation. But how they are going to finance investment is more of a challenge.”
Mullan said that Dell is embarking on a ‘zero percent’ financing plan that covers the enterprise base of most businesses.
“The projects vary, we had one company that wanted to move to a better payroll package and that meant making their first-ever server purchase. The stumbling block for businesses is deciding whether to expand infrastructure or consolidate it.
“The lynchpin is service and support. If a business is not prepared to invest in infrastructure, they should invest in service contracts because this provides them with more protection over a longer period of time, protecting what they have with a minimum outlay.”
Mullan said other conversations that SMB owners are having concern the area of green computing and energy efficiency. “Depending on how old their equipment is, if they invest in this area they can get a better return on investment. Typically firms can achieve a 47pc saving on the energy they use, if they deploy the Dell 410 desktop.
“Everyone right now is conscious of anything that can reduce their costs,” Mullan said.
By John Kennedy