Compaq Unveils Small-Business Offering

The computer maker is betting that the pay-per-use model will help it secure more small and midsize businesses as customers.
Compaq is taking its pay-per-use model for hardware and services delivery straight to the desktops of small and midsize businesses. With the newest version of its Computing on Demand, called Access on Demand, Compaq will offer desktops and notebook PCs from its Evo line of computers to customers with 300 or fewer users, along with a package of managed services.

Access on Demand joins three other offerings within Compaq's Computing on Demand strategy--Capacity on Demand, Storage on Demand, and PC as a Utility. Each offers Compaq customers a combination of hardware and services on a pay-per-use basis. Access on Demand's suite of managed services includes installation and warranty maintenance, help-desk support, and asset reporting. Pricing begins at $99 a month per seat for a Compaq Evo D300V microtower with help-desk support and program-management services.

Access on Demand should make Compaq's desktop-management services more appealing to small and midsize businesses, which large service providers typically have not found lucrative enough to pursue. Smaller service providers such as CenterBeam, Everdream, TeleComputing, and eFrame more often meet the desktop outsourcing needs of small business than do Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM Global Services, Gartner analyst Ron Silliman says.

Compaq's greatest advantage against smaller competitors has been its stability, but that could change if its merger with HP is completed. "Customers want to know if they buy into this program that this will still be in place if and when Compaq merges with HP," Silliman says. "It might not be a problem, but it's something customers should consider."

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