Sanjeev Aggarwal's Blog

April 9, 2015

Infusionsoft ICON15: Inspiration and Automation for Small Business Marketing

Laurie: Hi, this is Laurie McCabe and I’m here today for SMB’s Spotlight with Greg Head, who is the Chief Marketing Officer at Infusionsoft. We’re at the ICON 2015 event, which is Infusionsoft’s annual user conference. It’s been a blast so far and I’d like to learn more about it, but Greg, could you start just by telling us a little bit about what Infusionsoft, and about the company in general?
Greg: Well, Infusionsoft is the leading sales and marketing software for small businesses and the company has been around for just over 12 years. It started as a small business that turned into a startup that turned into a growth company. And now it’s one of the largest software companies, with 30,000 small business customers. We serve exclusively small businesses and we have over 600 employees and thousands of partners.
Laurie: And located here in the Phoenix area?
Greg: Yes, located here in Phoenix where we started.
Laurie: Okay, and just to clarify when you say small business–because we know as analysts when people say small business they could mean a thousand different things–what’s small business for Infusionsoft?
Greg: Well, we serve small businesses that have up and running businesses. That are full time and have employees and are still owner operated, which means most of our customers have 25 employees and of that most have fewer than 10. That’s where most small businesses reside, but there’s the mid-market of hundreds employees and on up that we are not involved with at all.
Laurie: Okay, that’s good clarification. So tell us about ICON. This is the third year I’ve been here so I’m very familiar, that it’s a great event, but who is it for? What are the goals for the event?
Greg: ICON is our annual conference for users and partners, and now other small businesses that want to join in on all the learning and keynote speakers and so forth. So it’s here at the Phoenix Convention Center, we outgrew the conference room and then hotel rooms and the largest hotel in Phoenix. It’s kind of a movement that’s been happening and now there are over 3500 people here this week. Here exclusively to talk about small business growth, small business sales and marketing, some on how to use Infusionsoft better, that’s definitely part of it. You can be here for three days and attend very valuable sessions and keynotes on these topics.
Laurie: Yes, we will post a link to where people can get more information about the sessions.
Greg: Excellent.
Laurie: So, can you tell me a little bit more about the Infusionsoft solution, what does it do for small businesses? Why do they use it? What benefits do they get out of it?
Greg: Yeah, the main thing, is that our solution is the small business CRM, the contact management, the customer database, and the marketing capabilities from web forms, to emails, and all the automation needed make things go–because small business owners need to make things go.
Laurie: Right.
Greg: And ecommerce to transact online, it’s all in one system. So we help small businesses that are growing and have customers, leads in their funnel coming off the website and Facebook, the new digital funnel has exploded.
Laurie: Right. Exactly.
Greg: Most small businesses have a dozen different tools to capture leads over here and to sell something online over here. So Infusionsoft is the one system that can organize all of that.
Laurie: And to automate it.
Greg: Yeah, once you are organized you can actually automate. You can set it up to start doing things for you that we used to have to do manually.
Laurie: Right.
Greg: And that’s driving a lot of small businesses crazy.
Laurie: Yes, because you can’t keep up with the follow up and the other things that you need to do on that one off basis in a small company. Well, even in a large company it just doesn’t scale. So if you don’t automate it…
Greg: Yeah, but big companies, for instance, at Infusionsoft, we have IT resources, technology, and money to throw at it. Small businesses need one system that’s going to run and help to do that.
Laurie: Yes, absolutely, and I think that as a small business, that you got to have the inspiration, the perspiration, but then you need automation because if you don’t have that you know that perspiration factor just shoots right up.
Greg: Yeah, that’s right.
Laurie: And you’re killing yourself before long with that. And that gets on to my next question, which is for many small businesses, unless they are sales and marketing coaches, or something like that, sales and marketing is an intimidating thing. Putting yourself out there, fear of rejection and everything else. So when you counsel people about some of the basics, things they should look at when you’re thinking, “Okay how do I take sales and marketing in my company to the next level? Or I realize that my revenues are flat, or my revenues are declining, so I’ve got to do something. Where is the right place to start?” How should they think about tactics, strategy, that kind of thing?
Greg: Well, most small business owners don’t think about it separately, it’s part of what they do, and they’re in the firefight. So the first thing is when we help them, it’s a function of where they are in the stage of their business. Maybe they’ve just quit their job, and now they have the business up and running, and getting sales going for the first time. Or maybe they have some revenues and they’re trying to grow figure out tactics to make it work, and 10 or 20 employees, you’ve got different types of issues there. But primarily small businesses jump right into the tactics to go get people to talk to, to sell or convert online. So they run right into the tactical mode, and that’s where all the beginning is. They have a hard time taking a step back and looking how to optimize all that.
Laurie: Their real objectives are how they are going to measure the improvement?
Greg: Yeah, again they get a little stuck because they are peddling so fast, and they don’t look at the biggest thing underneath of all of that is distinguishing the right market for their products and services. At first everybody goes out and tries to sell to everybody but after a while, you have to start narrowing it down, to the ones who are your best customers and prospects.
Laurie: So I know you have a lot of tools to help people use the Infusionsoft solution, do you also have services to help them figure out those bigger picture things?
Greg: Yeah, well small businesses need help and between our partners and us we help them get Infusionsoft set up and get the system running and helping in their business, and we’re also advising them tactically where they should be spending time to plug the hole. Our partners do consulting as well to help small businesses figure out their marketing strategy. At ICON, over half of the speaking sessions are not about the tactical, day-to-day tactics. We are also trying to help them with ways to think about the business, and how to get through the next hurdle in the business. While businesses get to a once place, then it’s a struggle to get to the next level.
Laurie: Yeah, getting stuck and then unstuck.
Greg: So getting unstuck is a major part of what people get from coming to Infusionsoft, for a few days seeing some other possibilities and getting some tactical help to help bridge some of those gaps.
Laurie: Yeah, I like because we all get stuck in our own ruts. S one last question for you really. For you, what are the most exciting highlights here at ICON?
Greg: Well it’s a big deal for us when we get to be with all of the people that we serve. That’s why we’re here, and we get to hear all the small business stories about the stuck and unstuck. We appreciate that and all the challenges small businesses face. Some of our customers get on stage and tell their stories, and that’s a big part of what we do here. We’re continuing to grow, this is a major movement. And we’re announcing new capabilities in our product and the Infusionsoft payments to make getting paid easier and simpler, and more.
Laurie: Right, so once customers are ready to buy, you can easily process the payment.
Greg: Well, big companies, other departments handle the function of getting paid.
Laurie: We all want to get paid, right? I think that should be a good program, and you also introduced some new things to help them get started more quickly?
Greg: Yeah, there are new resources, we keep improving the resources we have for small business owners, starting with Infusionsoft get started and learn more about the concept that they may or may not know. So that’s part of our help center, and our kick-start services that we offer. And we are always making the software easier because we know small businesses have a passion, and they don’t want to spend all day reading manuals and learning to use something. You know most small business owners are focused on something else. So we try to make it easier to focus on the things that they do, and to get back the time and passion and growth in their lives. Families all that stuff that they thought they’re going to get more of, but didn’t really work out that way, so that’s why we’re here.
Laurie: This has been a great synopsis of Infusionsoft and ICON. Thanks Greg, so much.
Greg: Thank you very much.

See ICON15 event highlights here

.

November 27, 2012

Report Card: 2012 Top 10 SMB Technology Market Predictions

–by Laurie McCabe and Sanjeev Aggarwal, SMB Group

Before developing our 2013 predictions, we wanted to assess how we did on our 2012 Top 10 SMB Technology Predictions. Here’s our take–please let us know what grades you would have given us!

And stay tuned for our Top 10 SMB Technology Predictions for 2013, which we will post in a couple of weeks!

Note: On this grading scale, 5 means that we came closest to hitting the mark, and 1 means we missed it entirely.

Prediction Score

Comments

  1. Economic Anxiety Lowers SMB Revenue Expectations and Tightens Tech Wallets
4 Year-over-year data from our annual SMB Routes to Market Studies
indicated that more small and medium businesses (SMBs)* were forecasting flat or decreased IT spending heading into 2012 compared to 2011. Given SMB budget constraints and the plethora of solutions aimed at SMBs, vendors had to work harder to convince budget-constrained SMBs that their solutions would really help address top SMB business challenges to attract new customers, grow revenues and maintain profitability. More SMBs turned to lower-risk, pay-as-you-go cloud options, and several vendors (IBM, Dell and HP, to name a few) introduced new and/or enhanced financing options to help SMBs overcome financial hurdles.
  1. The SMB Progressive Class Gains Ground
5 We identified a distinct category of SMBs that we termed “Progressive SMBs,” who see technology as integral to achieving business goals and to gaining a competitive edge. Progressive SMBs invest more and purchase more sophisticated solutions than their counterparts. Trending analysis from our 2011 to 2012 Routes to Market Studies show that the percentage of SMBs in the Progressive category is growing. Furthermore, Progressive SMBs continue to gain ground over SMBs that skimp on technology in terms of expected business performance.
  1. The SMB Social Media Divide Grows
5 SMB adoption of social media did indeed jump, from 44% to 53% among small businesses (and from 52% to 63% among medium businesses from 2011 to 2012, based on trending analysis in our SMB Social Business Studies. The divide between social media haves and have-nots is also growing: our research reveals that 65% of SMBs that use social business tools anticipate revenue gains, while only 17% of “non-social” SMBs expect revenues to increase.
  1. Cloud Becomes the New Normal
4 SMBs haven’t swapped out all of their on-premises solutions in favor of the cloud–but the puck is clearly moving to the cloud in all application areas. The evolution is continuing at a steady pace, as evidenced by trending analysis in our annual SMB Routes to Market Studies. In some areas, cloud is poised to overtake on-premises solutions. For instance, over 30% of SMBs that purchased or upgraded collaboration, marketing automation, BI and data backup in the past 24 months chose cloud, and over 40% of SMBs planning to purchase solutions in those areas in the next month plan cloud deployments.
  1. Mobile Application Use Extends Beyond Email to Business Applications
5 SMBs significantly ramped up mobile business application use and plans in 2012, as evidenced by trending analysis from our annual SMB Mobile Solutions Studies. More SMBs are providing mobile business apps to employees in categories ranging from CRM to time management to expense reporting. In addition, adoption of external-facing (for customers, partners and suppliers) mobile apps and websites also rose considerably. For instance, SMB use of a mobile-friendly website is up 10% among small businesses and 23% among medium businesses.
  1. Increased SMB Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics Investments Are Sparked by the Social-Mobile-Cloud Triumvirate
3 The avalanche of data generated by cloud, social and mobile has certainly created the need for better analytics. However, year-over year trending data from our SMB Routes to Market Studies reveals a mixed bag in terms of adoption. Use of BI solutions among medium businesses spiked 24% in the past year, but adoption rose just 2% among small businesses. While vendors appear to be doing a good job of developing and marketing BI solutions tailored to the needs of medium businesses, they have not yet figured out the right formula for smaller ones.
  1. Managed Services Meet Mobile
5 We forecast that the explosion of mobile devices and apps, “bring your own device” (BYOD) phenomenon and the increasing concerns about security would spark increased demand for and more solutions to manage mobile on the back-end. Our annual SMB Mobile Solutions Studies show that SMB adoption of mobile management services—from simple device management to comprehensive mobile management platforms—has accelerated rapidly. For instance, 16% of SMBs have already deployed an outsourced mobile management platform, and 30% plan to do so within a year.
  1. The Accidental Entrepreneur Spikes Demand for No-Employee Small Business Solutions
5 Small businesses without a payroll make up more than 70% of America’s 27 million companies. We hypothesized that the 2008 recession and subsequent layoffs generated a new and often “accidental” breed of entrepreneurs that would spike demand for—and growth of—applications targeted to meet the needs of these businesses. And they have. New and improved cloud-based and mobile apps from traditional small business powerhouses (Sage, Intuit, Microsoft, Google, etc.), SOHO pioneers (Freshbooks, Nimble, Dropbox, Zoho, etc.), and freelance talent sourcing solutions from companies such as Elance and oDesk are making it easier than ever for SOHOs to get their work done.
  1. Increased Adoption of Collaboration and Communication Services in Integrated Suites
4 Trending from our Routes to Market Study Medium businesses shows that overall, use and plans to deploy collaboration solutions is up year-over-year. Low-cost, low-risk, cloud-based collaboration and communications services have made it easier for SMBs to use integrated collaboration tools, while eliminating the inconvenience of using multiple sign-ons and interfaces.
The fact that vendors are integrating more into their offerings—such as Google integrating Google+ hangouts, IBM SmartCloud Engage adding social communities and Citrix adding video capabilities to GoToMeeting—doesn’t hurt either.
  1. The IT Channel Continues to Shape-Shift.
5 Cloud, social and mobile trends continue to reshape how channel partners must deliver value across the board. SMBs are increasingly choosing to purchase directly from software and cloud vendors in most areas. And Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have gained ground as a purchase channel over VARs in several solution areas, including security, BI and collaboration. The need for more specialized business and/or technology expertise has also made some types of channel players more relevant in each specific solution category than others.

*In SMB Group Syndicated Survey studies, we define small businesses as those with 1-99 employees, and medium businesses as having 100-999 employees.

For more information on our most recent SMB Mobile, Social Business and Routes to Market Studies, please visit our website, www.smb-gr.com, or contact Sanjeev Aggarwal, Sanjeev.aggarwal@smb-gr.com, 508-410-3562.


August 6, 2012

Today’s SMB Social Media Market Creates Opportunities for Tomorrow

SMB businesses are increasing their adoption of social media solutions year over year–rising from 44% to 53% in small business (1-99 employees) and 52% to 63% in medium business (100-999 employees). But what business functions are SMBs using social media for, and what social media tools are they using in different areas?

Just released results from the SMB Group’s 2012 Small and Medium Social Business Study paints a comprehensive picture of the functions that SMBs are using and planning to use social media for in their businesses. The study, which is the second annual survey we’ve completed on this topic, queried 665 U.S. executives in detail on this topic. As we look at trends from 2011 to 2012, we see several data points that reveal interesting opportunities for vendors to better serve this market.

Data Highlights

We found that similarly to our 2011 study results, SMBs in 2012 are adopting social media mainly to help them achieve their sales and marketing goals. Only a small percentage are using social media for non-sales and marketing functions, such as human resources, customer service and product development. However, use of social media in several of these areas is rising. For instance, social media use is up year-over-year:

  • From 47.5% in 2011 to 60% in 2012 for “Generate more web site traffic”
  • From 45% in 2011 to 59% in 2012 for “Connect with people who aren’t customers”
  • From 45% in 2011 to 47.5% in 2012 for “Service/support and customer retention”
  • From 23.5% in 2011 to 28% in 2012 for “Input for product development”

SMBs are using different social media tools for particular types of business functions, as indicated in the heat map below (Figure 1), which shows which social media tools SMBs are using to accomplish different business functions. For instance, LinkedIn is a the most widely used social media tool for  “new employee recruitment” while “geo location tools” are least used in this areas. Note that the tools above the blue line on the heat map are most frequently used for each business function, while the tools below the blue line show only marginal use. LinkedIn forums, Facebook, YouTube and Blogs are most frequently used social media tools to accomplish various business functions.

Source: 2012 Small and Medium Social Business Study, SMB Group

LinkedIn has been breaking out of the employee recruitment mold as SMBs extend its use into different areas. Although everyone knows about Facebook (and may have used Facebook for personal collaboration) and some small and medium size businesses have created a business page, many are still challenged by how to utilize Facebook’s potential to increase awareness of company brand, increase leads/traffic of website and drive revenues higher–and are testing out other social media tools.

As shown in Figure 2, although Facebook continues to remain ahead of the pack, adoption is tapering off. Meanwhile, other tools, including Twitter, YouTube, company blogs and Pinterest, have seen the strongest growth over the past year.

Figure 2: Social Media Tool adoption timeline
Q. How long have you been using social media for these functions?

Source: 2012 Small and Medium Social Business Study, SMB Group

To a large extent, SMBs are still experimenting to see how social media can help them, and which tools are best suited to helping them accomplish different business goals. Relative newcomers–such as Pinterest–can have a big effect in a short time if they hit the mark for specific business needs.

Because its relatively easy and low cost to test out different tools, SMBs will remain loyal only as long as they believe that they are getting beneficial business results. Since only 7% of small and 17% of medium businesses currently measure return-on-investment from social media, this is still a decision made by and large on anecdotal evidence and gut instinct.

This means that social media vendors must not only provide tools, but also training, services and metrics to help SMBs maximize and measure the value the get from these tools. For instance, a vendor could provide tools to help SMBs perform A/B testing–similar to what’s available for landing pages today– to hone their social media efforts.

As the market matures, pressure will also increase for SMBs to more accurately measure the results they’re getting across social media platforms. They will need better, easier to use analytics than are available today–ala Google Analytics for social. Vendors that provide these next-generation social media analytics solutions can capitalize on a big and growing market opportunity to bring today’s fuzzy picture into sharper focus. In addition, if they can harness these metrics across a broad base, they have the potential to build some very interesting data aggregation services akin to Nielson ratings for television and radio.

The bottom line is that there is still a lot of play in the nascent social media market–and unbounded opportunities for vendor innovation.

March 19, 2012

Dell Extends its End-to-End Storage Story for SMBs

Filed under: Blogs - Sanjeev Aggarwal, ISV, Small Business, SMB, Storage — Tags: , , , — sanjeevaggarwal @ 11:35 am

Storage is a key requirement for today’s small-to-medium business (SMB) and mid-market enterprises. As the amount of data multiplies, and the need to protect critical data grows, SMBs now require many of the same data storage capabilities as larger enterprises.

With these requirements in mind, Dell recently announced the acquisition of AppAssure–the company’s first acquisition since launching its new Software Group. AppAssure will be part of Dell’s enterprise storage and software line-up, and underscores Dell intent to extend its footprint in the storage solutions market. The acquisition helps Dell take another big step in its enterprise solutions strategy and deliver a Fluid Data architecture that automatically and intelligently optimizes and protects data everywhere.

AppAssure’s software solution, billed as next generation data protection, provides continuous backup protection across physical, virtual, and cloud-based storage environments and includes the following capabilities:

  • Snapshot and replication
  • Data de-duplication and compression
  • Backup and restore
  • Archiving

Market demand for this type of solution is reflected in AppAssure’s success to date. Since its launch in 2006, AppAssure has expanded to 230 employees and more than 6,000 customers worldwide, with 194% revenue growth year-over-year for 2011.

PERSPECTIVE

The top four technology challenges for the SMB and mid-market companies are (Figure 1):

  • Containing technology related costs
  • Implementing new solutions and upgrades
  • Keeping my systems up and running
  • Integrating different applications

Figure 1 SMB and Mid-market Top Technology Challenges


Source: SMB Group 2011 Small and Medium Business Routes to Market Study, November 2011

As the complexity of storage requirements rises, these challenges have become more pronounced in the storage space as SMBs have tried to piece together disparate solutions from multiple vendors to ensure data protection and business continuity/disaster recovery.

With AppAssure, Dell can provide SMBs with storage capabilities not only for their physical servers but across to virtual and cloud computing environments–which are increasingly the environment of choice for SMBs. Regardless of the data environment, AppAssure Backup and Replication provides backup/restore, archiving, and disaster recovery, simplifying administration with near instant, reliable data recovery. AppAssure also protects application software in both virtual and physical environments.

AppAssure is part of Dell’s broader “fluid data” architecture (Figure 2), which is designed to put the right data in the right place at the right time, at the right cost. It provides a unified storage architecture to manage data more cost-effectively and efficiently–thereby addressing the key technology challenges that SMBs face. At a high level, the Dell Fluid Data architecture can help SMBs manage the growing data avalanche in a more intelligent and streamlined way. In addition to the capabilities enabled by AppAssure, Dell’s storage architecture and solutions (Figure 2) address a broad range of storage management needs including:

  • Ability of handle file, block and object-level data to support a variety of applications, from Microsoft Exchange to virtualization solutions to databases to social media applications.
  • Automated support for multi-tier storage (primary, backup and archive data) to control rapidly escalating storage costs and compliance requirements.
  • Automated data protection and replication, eliminating the need for daily manual intervention.
  • Support for business continuity and disaster recovery.

Figure 2 Dell Unifying Storage Architecture


Source: Dell


Rapid data growth driven by new applications such as rich-media, social media, 64-bit architectures and compliance solutions requiring availability of data for very long time-periods is causing increases in storage system costs, storage infrastructure complexity, and power and cooling costs. Dell’s end-to-end storage management solutions help SMBs get some of these storage costs under control, for instance:

  • Data reduction technologies such as data de-duplication and compression allow SMBs to control data growth rates by eliminating redundant data. This enables more efficient use of existing storage assets and helps users defer capital expenditures for new storage systems as they reduce disk capacity requirements. They also help decrease bandwidth requirements for data transfer.
  • Tiered storage architectures allow users to control storage hardware costs based on business value and frequency of access. Higher performance, higher cost storage resources can be dedicated to mission critical initiatives, and lower performance and cost solutions can be allocated for back up and archiving.
  • Storage virtualization helps address storage costs by improving resource utilization, data mobility, information availability and related IT resources required to manage storage environments.
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery solutions reduce the impact of unexpected outages. By helping to keep the business up and running, they protect against potential revenue loss and brand damage due to outages.

QUICK TAKE

Dell’s acquisition of AppAssure and its continued focus on end-to-end storage management solutions provides several benefits to SMBs in addition to cost savings:

  • Ability to manage a mixed environment of physical, virtual, and cloud-based storage in a unified storage management solution.
  • Reduced IT resources needed for data storage management.
  • Ease of doing business with a single vendor for an integrated storage management solution.
  • Significant storage capacity savings afforded by storage consolidations and sophisticated deduplication/compression technologies.
  • Support for the most widely adopted virtual solutions – Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware, vSphere and Citrix XenServer.

And, with SMB market adoption of virtualization and cloud solutions rising, Dell’s timing couldn’t be better. The interest among SMBs to acquire/upgrade IT infrastructure management and virtualization solutions is very high (Figure 3), driven by the need to address IT environment complexity and increasing costs.

Figure 3 Solutions Purchased/Upgraded and Future Plans


Source: SMB Group 2011 Small and Medium Business Routes to Market Study, November 2011

That said, SMBs need better guidance in this area. Dell can significantly strengthen its story–and sales–by making it easier for the SMBs to easily understand the scope of it storage systems and end-to-end storage management offerings and pinpoint the “best-fit” solution(s) for their needs through the following:

  • Compararative information and visuals on Dell’s web site-replacing pages of detailed information and specs that illustrate Dell solutions and provide guidance on when and why different systems are relevant
  • Web-based tools for needs assesssment and recommendations.
  • Proof points in the form of customer references, return-on-investement and total-cost-of-ownership calculations that illustrate the financial and efficiency benefits of Dell’s integrated approach.

By providing education to SMBs and clarifying its storage story, Dell can make the most out of its push to extend beyond the hardware business to provide business computing solutions that are innovative, yet practical–and geared to both SMBs as well as large enterprises.

July 31, 2011

Dell KACE M300 Appliance Enables Small Businesses to Take a Proactive Approach to IT Asset Management

Filed under: Blogs - Sanjeev Aggarwal, Infrastructure, Small Business, SMB, TCO — Tags: , , , , , — sanjeevaggarwal @ 12:49 pm

Dell KACE recently introduced a new series of System Management Appliances targeted at small businesses with 20-200 employees. The Dell KACE M300 Asset Management Appliance is designed to deliver an affordable, plug-and-play IT asset management solution that reduces the repetitive, time consuming task of managing PC inventory and software licenses. The KACE M300 provides a robust yet easy-to-use asset management solution—saving these businesses time and money, while at the same time addressing their compliance and inventory management issues.

Perspective

Dell’s KACE systems management and deployment appliances are designed to meet systems management needs from initial computer deployment to ongoing management and retirement. Dell acquired KACE, which designs and builds systems management and deployment appliances, in February 2010. KACE solutions are available both as physical appliances (delivered as a pre-packaged hardware and software appliance) and as software-only virtual appliances, which customers can buy and load onto servers they already own.

Higher-end products available from Dell KACE (K1000 and K2000) have been available for some time. Since Dell acquired KACE, sales have spiked considerably year-over-year. However, the existing KACE offerings are designed for companies with 100 to 10,000 employees, and cost more than most small businesses are willing to spend in this area.

With the introduction of the M300, Dell is making a play in the true small business market, targeting customers that want a simple plug-and-play appliance to meet their asset management (both hardware and software) needs. The solution is designed for smaller businesses that often have a part-time IT manager, typically overloaded with installing software and keeping systems and client devices up and running, and frequently unable to keep up with the detail-oriented task of tracking hardware and software assets.

Many small business IT managers are still trying to manage assets and software licenses in a manual manner with spreadsheets. While manual tools provide a point in time snapshot of a network, the information rapidly becomes obsolete as computers are added or additional software is installed on existing computers. IT managers either end up spending too much time trying to keep this up-to-date, or end up with outdated asset inventories. Offloading the labor-intensive minutia involved in this job can free them up to focus on more important things.

Although there are some free and small business oriented solutions in the market, Dell’s strong market footprint in the market and direct relationships with existing small business customers provide it with a significant go-to-market advantage, and the opportunity to educate small businesses about the benefits of investing in IT asset management (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Benefits of IT Asset Management

Strategic Benefits
  • Reduce over-spending on IT hardware and software assets by increasing asset utilization
  • Reduce IT resources (and time) required to routinely manage and maintain IT hardware and software assets and related annual operational costs
  • Increase useful life of IT assets through ongoing configuration and upgrade monitoring
  • Increase utilization of assets by optimizing performance of IT assets
  • Reduce downtime by optimizing configurations and timely upgrades of assets
  • Reduce break-fix costs by maintaining proper asset warranty information
  • Support audit and compliance requirements and mitigate risk of non-compliance and costly legal/financial risks
  • Records and reports when new devices are connected to the network
  • Detects hazardous software packages across the network
IT Hardware Asset Management Benefits IT Software Asset Management Benefits
  • Reduce server and PC procurement, upgrade and ongoing management costs
  • Extend the useful life of these hardware assets
  • Reduce costs by redeploying unused or under-utilized hardware systems
  • Keep track of licenses and upgrades for PCs migrating to Windows7 and identify PCs that are configured adequately for upgrade
  • Easily identify PCs that need replacement or upgrades


  • Maintain an accurate inventory of installed applications to ensure legality and that software is up to date
  • Maintain a centralized report of license purchases and maintenance to ensure license compliance
  • Reduce operating system, middleware and application procurement, patching, upgrade and ongoing management costs
  • Reduce costs related to un-used or under-utilized middleware and application software licenses (for both on-premise and on-line software)
  • Optimize software assets by redeploying unused software licenses
Source: SMB Group, 2011

In line with small business requirements to keep it simple, the M300—features easy set up. The IT manager plugs the M300 into the network, and the device automatically scans and discovers all the devices on the network, obtaining information like system names, IP addresses, vendor, models numbers, memory and disk space, etc. In addition to the hardware configuration, the M300 keeps track of all the software licenses, what systems the software is installed, version of the software and level of patch updates, etc.

The M300 continuously tracks computers and software, and can report accurate information in real-time and for compliance purposes at a specific point-in-time. The web-based intuitive user interface of the appliance shows real-time information on all of the monitored parameters. It can match the installed software with the number of software licenses purchased and also authorized users who can use the software. It shows online or sends out reports and/or alerts on any of the monitored parameters. For example, an alert will be issued if an unapproved application is downloaded and installed on a monitored PC or if a new PC is connected to the network.

Priced at $2498, the M300 includes a one year warranty and supports a maximum of 200 nodes. Assuming the useful life of the M300 to be 3 years, we estimate the cost to monitor each node (desktops and servers) on the network at approximately $0.49 per month per node in a company with 200 nodes. Figure 2 shows the cost per node in smaller companies (with less than 200 notes?). Given the cost of a full time IT manager to be approximately $75,000 per year, the M300 will pay for itself in about 1 month. In addition, the M300 can relieve the pressure and any additional costs related to non-compliance in terms of number of software licenses, etc.

Figure 2: Tracking Cost Per Node, Per Month with the M300
Source: SMB Group


The M300 is compact–measuring just 1.52 x 5.79 x 5.79 inches, connects to the network via a single gigabit Ethernet port, and is currently available in the U.S. only.

Sales are both direct from Dell and via Dell partners. KACE has added about 100 new certified partners since Dell acquired it and currently has 143 channel partners in North America. KACE is aggressively recruiting new partners to help it expand its footprint and reach Dell’s large customer base in the small business segment.

Dell’s future plans include additional appliances that can be stacked on top of the M300 and will address time consuming IT management functions like OS installs, remote management, mobile devices, service desk, etc. as the systems management needs of these small businesses expand, without the need to rip and replace their current solutions and investments.

Quick Take

Cost-efficiency, productivity benefits, ease of installation and peace of mind benefits—aided by Dell’s strong clout in the market—should enable Dell to make significant inroads with KACE in the lower end of the SMB space. And, Dell’s plans to incrementally build on the current M300 offerings with additional appliances for other repetitive tasks such as installing network operating systems, imaging and data backup make sense. However, Dell can significantly strengthen its story–and sales–by:

  • Offering small businesses the option to add at least some new functionality via software upgrades to the M300 appliance. Although the small business KACE appliances have a small form factor, some companies will balk at buying additional boxes (not to mention that Dell wants to move away from its “box-provider” image!)
  • The M300 is a first in the M-series line of appliances from KACE. The M-series is designed to deliver system management technologies to small businesses that they previously were unable to gain access to due to cost or complexity of solutions.
  • Incorporating capabilities to manage non windows based clients and networked storage devices.
  • Enabling remote management features to enable channel partners to offer incremental value-added IT infrastructure management services. This would not only have appeal for customers, who like to have a one-stop shop, but for partners, that can build higher margin services on top of the M300.

Looking at the larger picture, the KACE M300 provides further evidence of Dell’s deepening commitment to small businesses. Dell continues to invest in and build innovative yet practical solutions that address real small business pain points without breaking the bank. Small businesses increasingly rely on technology to run their businesses, and Dell’s focus on supplying them with easy-to-use solutions such as the KACE M300 to help manage this technology is on the mark.

March 30, 2011

Is there a Method to Social Media Madness?



Co-authored by: Sanjeev Aggarwal and Laurie McCabe, SMB Group, and Brent Leary, CRM Essentials  SMB adoption of social media for sales, marketing, product development and customer service is on the rise – but how are SMBs tracking, analyzing and measuring the success of their social media endeavors?

In our joint SMB Group-CRM Essentials “2011 Small and Medium Business Social Business Study,” we surveyed 750 SMB (small business is 1-99 employees; medium business is 100-999 employees) decision-makers about their use and plans for social media for sales, marketing, customer service and support, product development, HR and other business functions.

Featured Study Highlights

To put social media adoption in context, we asked several questions to better understand how SMBs accomplish their business objectives though different channels and mechanisms, including, “How does your currently track, analyze and measure the success of the company’s social media efforts?”

In the medium business segment, 52% of respondents indicate that they currently use social media. Among these respondents, about 19% say they use it in and “ad hoc, informal” way, while 33% indicate they use it in a “structured, strategic” manner. When we take a deeper look at how medium businesses using social media track, analyze and measure success of social media efforts, we see that companies that take a strategic approach are more likely to incorporate a greater number and more actionable metrics to measure social media effectiveness than their informal, ad hoc counterparts (Figure 1).

  • For strategic users, actionable, customer-centric metrics such as referrals (14%), click-through rates (12%), and inbound links (11%) top the list. These are followed by social media measurements such as number of followers and friends (9%), and sentiment analysis (9%), along with anecdotal feedback (9%).

  •  Companies that use social media in an ad hoc manner are more likely to rate “softer” measurements, such as anecdotal favorable feedback (6%) and buzz from social media (4%) as top tracking criteria and yardsticks for success.

Not surprisingly, SMBs that take a structured, strategic approach–and use more actionable metrics–are also more satisfied with the results of their social media efforts than those engaging in an ad hoc manner.

This underscores the need for better integration of social media with traditional sales, marketing, and service/support solutions–along with better tools to track and measure results.
Figure 1: Medium Business: Comparison of Strategic and Ad Hoc Users Criteria to Track and Measure Social Media Implementation
 
 
 
 

 


Quick Take

For SMBs to truly evolve into “social businesses,” they need to be able to easily track, measure and tweak the results of their social media investments across a wide range of business activities, from marketing through customer service and product development.

Although the social media drumbeat is loud, SMBs’ enthusiasm will be curbed if they can’t figure out what impact their social media initiatives are having. Whether on their own or via partner solutions, vendors will need to give SMBs the tools they need to integrate and evaluate social media efforts into their larger business strategy and framework.

Because social media engagement does not occur in a vacuum, businesses will want to measure social media efforts in context of broader sales, marketing and customer service or other initiatives. Although collaboration, CRM, marketing automation and other vendors are integrating social media into their existing solutions, few provide the analytics required to track and measure the effectiveness of social media and its different channels in an actionable and streamlined manner.

December 31, 2010

SMB Mobile Spending Trends from SMB Group’s 2010 Mobile Solutions Study

Filed under: Blogs - Sanjeev Aggarwal, mid-market, mobile, Small Business, SMB, Survey, website — Tags: — sanjeevaggarwal @ 3:54 pm

As part of the recently completed SMB Group study “2010 Small and Medium Business Mobile Solutions Study,”
we performed a detailed analysis of U.S. small and medium business (SMB) spending on mobile devices, applications, and services. As explained in this study, SMBs (1-999 employees) spent approximately $26.1B on mobile solutions and services in 2010—an amount forecasted to increase annual at a rate of 17 percent for the next few years, with some segments growing much faster than the others.

As indicated on Figure 1, voice and data services gobble up the biggest part of SMBs’ mobile budgets (69%), followed by mobile application (12%) spending, mobile devices (11%), and mobile device/application management (8%). In the U.S., mobile service providers typically subsidize mobile device costs as part of their two-year mobile service contract subscriptions, resulting in the lower spending for mobile devices–which would cost two to three times more if they weren’t subsidized.

Figure 1 – 2010 SMB Mobile Solutions Spending


Other important takeaways from the survey and our analysis include:

  • While SMBs currently spend more on devices than on mobile management, growth in spending for the latter is outpacing spending on the former by roughly 13%. This reflects the reality that as mobile adoption and business dependence on mobile solutions grows, SMBs will need to invest in solutions to more efficiently manage mobile services and solutions.
  • Although SMBs currently spend more on voice and data services than mobile applications, survey results indicate that spending for mobile applications grow about 30% faster than for voice and data services.
  • Very small businesses have the highest average spending per employee for mobile services, solutions and devices. Average mobile spending per employee decreases as company size increases. As companies grow, they have more formal mobile policies that encourage mobile plan sharing, and can take advantage of volume discounts to help cut spending. For example:
  • Very small businesses with 1-19 employees spend about $150 per year per employee on mobile devices, compared to $101 per employee for companies with 50-99 employees.
  • Expenditures for annual mobile voice and data service plans per employee rage from $1,056 for companies with 1-19 employees to $511 for small businesses with 50-99 employees.
  • Annual mobile application spending ranges from $416 per employee for companies with 1-19 employees to $292 per employee for companies with 50-99 employees.
  • The role of the user-management, sales, office manager, information worker, etc.–and the industry are key factors in determining what types of devices are selected.
    For example,
    Information workers in industries like health care, legal, real estate are adopting smartphones and tablets more rapidly than other types of users in other industries.

Mobile spending now accounts for almost 10% of all technology spending for U.S. small and medium businesses and is forecast to grow at a rapid pace for the foreseeable future. This presents very significant opportunities for vendors on several fronts, including:

  • Mobile device companies that develop new devices that tailored to specific user roles and industries.
  • Mobile web and mobile application providers to create innovative new applications that help SMBs perform business functions more easily and flexibly.
  • Service providers that go beyond voice and data service plans to offer higher value solution bundles.

However, the high cost of mobile service plans threatens to stall SMB adoption of smartphones and other devices that enable employees to take advantage of mobile business solutions. This is particularly true in very small businesses (1-19 employees), where 40% cite high voice and data costs as a top barrier to mobile solution adoption. Even when we look at the total small business group (1-99 employees), 37% say these costs are their top obstacle. As a result, 43% of small businesses currently provide voice-text phones and plans only to employees.

Of late, service providers are offering more limited choices for voice-text only phones, which will push some small businesses to invest in data service plans, smartphones and the applications they enable. But, small businesses will need more flexible and affordable data plans to take advantage of the mobile applications that can help their businesses grow. We’ll be watching closely to see what types and which vendors will try to shake up the status quo with new pricing schemes, bundles and incentives to help small businesses take better advantage of the mobile opportunity.

For more information and a Table of Contents is available for this study click here: 2010 Small and Medium Business Mobile Solutions Study.

 


 

November 29, 2010

Dell Vostro V130 – A Great Fit For Small Business Entrepreneurs, Executives And Mobile Professionals

Filed under: Blogs - Sanjeev Aggarwal, Infrastructure, Small Business, SMB, SMB strategy, video — Tags: , , , , , — sanjeevaggarwal @ 9:33 pm

 

As a entrepreneur and a CEO of a small business who travels frequently, I have been looking for a business-class notebook that is sleek, lightweight, provides good performance and security, and is also affordable. Dell’s Vostro V130 meets these requirements and provides enhanced performance over the previous V13.

 

Figure 1: Mobile Workers (employees that travel more than 20% of their time on business)

Source: Small and Medium Business Mobility Study, SMB Group

Small Businesses Are Becoming More Mobile

Mobility is a key consideration for most small businesses (companies with less than 100
employees) when purchasing technology solutions. Overall, about 81 percent of small
businesses (Figure 1) have mobile workers that travel more than 20% of the time for business related activities.

Breaking this down a bit, we see some other interesting data points:

  • The larger a small business becomes, the more important mobility becomes: 86% of companies with 50-99 employees have mobile workers.
  • A larger percentage of employees travel in companies with fewer employees. In those with 1-19 employees, 22 percent of the employees travel more than 20% of their time on business.

Many of the mobile business executives in these small businesses no longer have desktop PCs in their offices. They want an all-purpose, ultra-portable mobile device that they can rely on to run their business applications and most likely their personal applications as well. Key considerations for small business entrepreneurs and C-level management include:

  • Ultra portable laptops that can fit in the smallest carry-on bag and weigh almost nothing. They also need to be sturdy to withstand all the beating the laptops encounter during airport security inspections. Successful entrepreneurs–and those that would like to be–also want a sleek and stylish device that helps them put their best foot forward in client meetings.
  • Although small businesses are using more web-based solutions, most still rely on several tried and true packaged applications, such as Intuit QuickBooks and Microsoft Office, excluding netbooks from consideration.
  • Data security is a key concern for travelling executives because these systems usually store sensitive company and customer information.
  • Executives never have time to backup their laptops, they need a secure automated online backup service that works in the background.
  • Wireless connectivity in the office(Wife) and while travelling (mobile broadband).
  • Strong battery life for long trips, client meetings and conferences.
  • Onsite support to provide peace of mind should anything go wrong and the device can’t be fixed remotely.
  • Affordable pricing because technology and capital purchase budgets continue to be tight.

How the Dell Vostro Stacks Up

  • Fresh and sturdy design. The Vostro V130 offers CEOs and entrepreneurs sleek and ultra portable functionality. But it’s also tough, built with an anodized aluminum scratch-resistant shell in either Aberdeen Silver or Lucerne Red (Figure 2). Having a full-featured laptop that weighs in at 3.5 pounds, and measures a skinny 0.65 inches a full featured laptop gives the Vostro a touch of the wow factor that will get it noticed.

Figure 2: Dell Vostro V130


  • Strong multimedia capabilities. The V130 features a 2.0-megapixel webcam and microphones for web and video conferencing. HDMI output enables high definition streaming to an HDTV that is very useful for making presentations. In fact, these features are becoming a must have for the executive laptop, and I see myself using most of these as they make for a richer collaboration experience and higher quality presentations.
  • Affordable pricing. The V130 line up ranges from the Intel Celeron system running Linux and priced at a competitive $499 up to Intel i5 ULV processor running the Windows7 operating system for $849.
    Details on the 3 models include:

 

  • Intel® Celeron™ Processor ULV U3400: 2M Cache, 1.06GHz, 800 MHz FSB with Linux for $499 and the same system with Windows7 Home Premium for $549.
  • Intel® Core™ Processor ULV i3-380UM: 3M Cache, 1.33GHz, 800 MHz FSB with 4GB memory and 320GB hard drive and Windows7 Home Premium for $689.
  • Intel® Core™ Processor ULV i5-470UM : 3M Cache, 1.33GHz, 800 MHz FSB with 4GB memory and 500GB hard drive and Windows7 Home Premium for $849.
  • Performance. With the latest Intel Core iCULV processor, the Vostro V130 offers up to 40% overall performance improvement over the previous V13 with a duo core processor The performance range between V130 models is significant, as shown in Figure 3. Because I create a lot of PowerPoint presentations and Excel documents, my preference is to go with the best performance processor. Those with less process intensive requirements may not need as much horsepower. Most entrepreneurs will want to add available security, backup and onsite support options to safeguard their data and ensure peace of mind.

 

Figure 3: V130 Relative Performance with Different Processors and Windows7 Operating System

Source: SMB Group, November 2010

  • Battery life. Since I travel frequently, I like the fact that the
    V130 features a sealed 6-cell 30WHr battery that provides up to 4 hours and 21 minutes of mobile productivity —almost long enough for a cross country U.S. flight.
  • Mobile Connectivity. Many very small businesses only use a wireless network in the office and home office. The Vostro V130 laptops support a full range of connectivity options, including 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless LAN, Bluetooth 3.0, and mobile broadband. These options make it easy for the mobile executive to connect to the network in the office, while travelling, at clients’ offices or at home.
  • Data protection. Since I have all of my company’s financial, banking and customer information on my laptop and shudder to think what would happen should it get dropped, lost or stolen. Freefall sensors are standard on the V130. These sensors detect if the laptop is in a state of free fall, and park the head of the disk drive to prevent a head crash and resulting data loss upon impact on the ground.
  • Data backup. When was the last time you backed-up your laptop? Though many of us are loathe to admit it, most small business executives fail to back up their laptops regularly. Viruses, accidental file deletion, disk crashes, etc. can irreparably compromise data and information that cannot be easily re-created. Dell’s DataSafe online backup is an easy way to ensure mission critical laptop data will get backed up.
  • Flexible service and support
    options. If a key executive’s laptop is down, the business suffers. Most small businesses lack dedicated internal IT staff, and need to rely on third parties when a problem arises. Dell provides a range of service solutions, from phone support to ProSupport, which includes a dedicated, single point of contact and next day onsite support in most instances. A 3-year ProSupport agreement with next day onsite support is $190 – money well spent to gain peace of mind. Based on my own personal experience with Dell ProSupport service, I would rate it as an industry best and would not hesitate to recommend it for mission critical executive support.

 

Summary

The new Dell Vostro V130 is primarily intended for small businesses entrepreneurs and executives that are highly mobile and need a thin, light, full featured notebook–and have a tight technology budget. Having the opportunity to review an early model, I believe that the Vostro V130 will be very appealing choice for mobile professionals looking for a sleek, highly capable and professional looking executive laptop.


July 29, 2010

Technology Solution and Services Purchasing Cycle Decision Markers in Small Businesses

Small companies will tend to have a less formal purchasing process than their larger counterparts Typically only one or two people will have purchasing authority—usually the company officers in small businesses with the guidance of the IT person, if there is one.

How a company purchases or acquires technology products and services is affected by company size. The size of an SMB and the type of IT organization that they have influences and reflects the technology choices the SMB make. Typically, a small business (defined as a company with 1-99 employees) will have either no IT resources at all or one full-time IT resource.

The technology solutions and services purchase cycle typically involves 4 stages: Identify Need, Evaluate Solution, Select Solution, and Final Purchase Decision. The persons involved in each of these four stages of the process are different as is their level of involvement at each stage, which is usually dictated by the size of the small business, technology sophistication and sometimes the age of the primary decision maker (usually the owner or CEO) in these companies. Figure 1 provides details of all those involved in these technology solution and services purchase decisions at small business in North America.

Figure 1: Personnel Involved in Technology Solution Purchase Process at Small
Businesses (1-99 employees)

Source: SMB Group, 2010

  • Identify Need. In more than 75 percent of the cases, the owner of the business is the person involved in identifying need for technology solutions and services support from a end-user employee or senior business manager (non IT). This is usually based on the business pain points the small business is experiencing and how the use of these technology solutions will help address them. Only 21 percent of the cases involve in-house IT personnel in identifying need for technology solutions and services.
  • Evaluate Solutions. The role of line-of-business managers and end-users becomes more important in evaluating different solution alternatives, often they are involved with doing a free trial of these solution more frequently online but also sometime by downloading applications. The in-house IT person assists with the technical requirements for the evaluation and the owner is also usually involved in about 60 percent of the evaluations. Small business technology environments are straightforward but in some cases may require some advanced features; small businesses are rarely leading-edge technology adopters. In a small percentage of cases small businesses solicit the help of industry colleagues and/or external VARs and consultants in these more advanced and complex evaluations. The results of these evaluations helps small businesses reduce the number of evaluated solutions to a “short list” driven by predefined criteria.
  • Select Solutions. This step is completed by the owner/CEO and the In-house IT person based on the evaluation of various solutions. The factors involved in the selection process are price, ease-of-use, higher quality and stronger brand. As companies grow, the focus shifts from price and ease-of-use to quality and stronger brand as reviews from analysts and social media become more important.
  • Final Purchase Decision. In almost all small businesses, the owner or CEO of the business makes the final purchase decision, with the line of business executive or the in-house IT executive contributing in a limited role.

The insights included in the blog are from a comprehensive SMB study on SMB Routes to Market for Technology Solutions“. The SMB Group’s 2010 Routes to SMB Market Study helps Technology software solutions vendors and services providers identify routes (channels) to the SMB market for their products and services based on how they go about making purchase decisions. Study results and analysis will help them make well-informed marketing, product development, media and channel decisions to successfully reach, influence and market to North American SMBs with one to 1000 employees.

 

 

 

 

 


March 18, 2010

Dell’s New Vostro 3000 Laptops: Designed for Small Businesses

Filed under: Blogs - Sanjeev Aggarwal, Channels, Infrastructure, mid-market, Small Business, SMB — Tags: , , — sanjeevaggarwal @ 5:04 pm

The realities of a lingering recession and a do-it-yourself (DIY) ethos continue to frame today’s economic climate. As entrepreneurs and small businesses went into financial shock beginning in mid-2008, they hunkered down and made do with older laptops (the dominant computing platform for these businesses) and other hardware instead of spending precious cash on new equipment. But with hints of a slow recovery in the offing, these older, over-extended laptops may not be up to the task of helping to support these businesses as they prepare for new business opportunities,

Consequently, Dell’s introduction of its new Vostro 3000 family could not be more timely. As credit markets begin to thaw, and business prospects look more encouraging, small business interest in taking advantage of the power of Microsoft Windows 7 and Intel’s next generation i5 and i7 processors is growing. With the 3000 series, Dell has put a lot of energy into meeting the needs of small businesses.

The Dell’s Vostro 3000 line offers:

  • Affordable pricing. Prices for smaller-sized systems begin under $649, while the larger 17″ systems start at $798, making them affordable for small businesses on tight budgets.
  • Flexible service and support
    options. Small businesses lack the IT resources to service and support these systems. If even one key executive’s laptop is down, the business suffers. Dell provides a range of service solutions, from phone support to ProSupport, which includes a dedicated, single point of contact, and next day onsite support in most instances. Based on my own personal experience with Dell ProSupport service, I would rate it as an industry best and would not hesitate to recommend it to small businesses for mission critical executive and power user laptops.
  • Data and access security. Freefall sensors are standard on all Vostro laptops. These sensors detect if the laptop is in a state of free fall, and park the head of the disk drive to prevent a head crash and resulting data loss upon impact on the ground. Businesses can also select optional features such as fingerprint readers and hard drive encryption for added protection. These security features help protect loss of business critical data in the event of accidents, loss, theft or unauthorized system access.
  • Data backup. When was the last time you backed-up your laptop? Though many of us are loathe to admit it, most small businesses fail to back up their laptops consistently and regularly. Viruses, accidental file deletion, disk crashes, etc. can irreparably compromise data. Dell’s DataSafe online backup is an easy way to ensure mission critical laptops will get backed up.
  • Connectivity. Many very small businesses only use a wireless network in the office and home office. The Vostro 3000 family laptops support a full range of connectivity options, including 802.11g/n wireless LAN, Bluetooth, and mobile broadband.
  • Fresh design and features. The Vostro 3000 series offers entrepreneurs sleek yet rugged styling, with aluminum shells in an updated choice of colors. The line-up also features webcams and microphones for videoconferencing in all models, and strong graphics capabilities.

Summary

Overall, Dell’s Vostro 3000 family provides a stylish, sturdy and affordable choice of laptops that address key small business requirements, affordability, service and support, security, data backup and connectivity.

However, Vostro 3000 products are currently available only from the Dell.com website. While Dell regularly emails and snail mails Dell Small Business newsletters and product brochures, and Internet research can provide a lot of good information, this doesn’t meet the needs of small business owners that like to physically see and touch products before they buy them. These customers—and there are many of them–are more comfortable shopping at retail stores like BestBuy and Staples, where Dell’s consumer laptops are available—but no Vostros.

To reach a broader small business market, Dell needs to supplement its direct model with a strong presence for its small business solutions at the retail outlets that small business owners and office managers frequent.

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