SMBs turning to PC finance deals to ride out credit crunch

Dell claims that small businesses are increasingly turning to finance deals to help them afford new computer equipment, as the credit crunch begins to bite.

SMBs turning to PC finance deals to ride out credit crunch

The PC maker – which runs its own Dell Finance service with partner GE Capital – claims that SMBs are looking to avoid the upfront outlay on new PCs. “We’re seeing more and more requests for the financing and leasing of products,” Aongus Hegarty, vice president of sales operations at Dell told PC Pro. “15% of companies would purchase through financing and leasing.”

Hegarty insists that small businesses remain one of five core markets for Dell, despite the company’s recent consumer drive. And although easing cash flow remains a high priority for SMBs, simplifying their IT infrastructure also remains key. “They [SMBs] don’t have individuals dedicated to IT,” says Hegarty. They have no real strategy, no real work on cost of investment in that area.”

Dell claims last year’s launch of its Vostro range caters for small businesses, with additional services such as online data backup and hard drive encryption. The company is also introducing a new network security suite, in association with McAfee, that will allow small businesses to ensure workers are keeping their laptop security suites up-to-date, in a bid to help ease the IT burden.

Server growth

Dell says it’s also been caught by surprise by server demand from small businesses. “25% of really small businesses [1-4 employees] have a server,” says Dave Moore, business development director at Dell. “They’re used for printer sharing and internet access. Not enough are using it for data backup. We’re certainly encouraging people to think of servers as more than something from which I can share my data,” adding that data backup is an area neglected by 60% of small businesses.

Moore also confirmed that medium and even small businesses are increasingly turning to virtualisation on their servers to help manage hardware costs and keep ever-rising energy costs down.

However, Dell wouldn’t be drawn on what could be a potential spat with Microsoft. The company has launched a redesigned range of Vostro laptops that come with the option of having Windows XP pre-installed – just two months before Microsoft removes the operating system from sale.

Will Dell continue to supply XP machines after the June deadline? “We’re here to supply what customers want,” Moore claims, although refused to be drawn on whether the company would appeal to Microsoft to extend its cut-off point once more.

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