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Dell's New Servers Join Rush To Smaller Business Offerings

Positioning of new products and services for smaller businesses indicates growing awareness of the unique needs of smaller businesses, but may squeeze channel partners.
Positioning of new products and services for smaller businesses indicates growing awareness of the unique needs of smaller businesses, but may squeeze channel partners.Earlier today, Dell announced two new server products (PowerEdge R300 and T300) for smaller businesses. And while that's interesting if you're in the market for a new server (or several), more intriguing was the preamble to the product launch hosted by Barry Jennings, Chief Researcher for Dell Small & Medium Business. He spoke directly to the smaller business IT conundrum: big needs, scarce resources.

Among the factoids that Jennings spouted, citing sources ranging from IDC to his own research with Dell customers:

--SMBs spend approximately one percent of annual revenue on technology
--More than half (55 percent) of smaller businesses install the most sophisticated technology they use themselves
--In 2008, green technology is expected to be a top 10 trend (lower energy consumption being the key ROI
--In the last year, 60 percent of U.S. SMBs experienced at least one security breech
--Reliability is king and smaller businesses upgrade servers every three to five years (and move older equipment to non-critical business needs or retire it outright)
--Eliminating frequent server downtime and slowdowns is a top five "pain point" for smaller business (predictably, he mentioned that Dell's servers can help with this)

How's that for an aggregation of factoids? That Dell places such emphasis on understanding the SMB market space is encouraging -- more interest and competition for the smaller business market translates to better products and solutions and lower prices. Of course, Dell's hardly alone in chasing this market space. Over the past few days, a sampling of the SMB-centric product and service announcements includes:

--Sun (open source solutions)
--NEC (unified communications)
--Polycom (Wi-Fi telephony)

The dark side of this interest in the SMB market (which isn't new) from established, enterprise-level providers is that some channel partners may find themselves bypassed. In time, that may portend dwindling choice of solution-providers and consultants for smaller businesses. If you play that scenario out far enough, the options for smaller business could easily narrow to enterprise-level pricing for support or no support at all.Positioning of new products and services for smaller businesses indicates growing awareness of the unique needs of smaller businesses, but may squeeze channel partners.

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