PC World Business (PCWB) is driving deeper into services by offering two new support initiatives to its SME customers.
Based on its Remote IT Management (RITM) service launched in 2003, the new initiatives offer a more varied choice of support levels.
The first ? Pay as You Go RITM ? provides full-time remote monitoring of IT networks, allowing firms to pay for IT support only when it is required. Each support call ranges from £50 to £150, depending on its length.
The second ? the IT Assistance service option ? is available for a monthly fee to deal with large-scale or more complex service problems.
Richard Harrison, head of commercial services at PCWB, said: "The rationale behind a fixed-rate charge is that customers are able to plan their IT strategy and work out how much it will cost them each month. But some customers want to manage some of the risk themselves and prefer a pay-as-you-go option. It is all about catering for different customers needs."
He claimed that services is an area PCWB is "heavily into".
"We are a more service-driven organisation than the market perceives. We value [services] immensely and we see them as an important part of our future. SME customers need professional services, which have always been provided by resellers. We are just following that trend," he said.
Steve Brazier, chief executive of analyst Canalys, said PCWB could find it hard convincing SMEs to part with their cash.
"It makes sense to offer a pay-as-you-go option. Annual contracts are difficult to tie down because SMEs don't believe they need them. But the question remains: will SMEs pick up the phone and pay for support this way? It's not easy to justify spending money on something intangible," he said.
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