BT is joining forces with IBM and Wang to launch an IT support service aimed exclusively at small businesses.
BT Desktop Plus will be launched in February and is designed to cater for all the IT needs of a small businesses, from software support to hardware installation. ?We act as a single point of contact for the customer?s IT needs, enabling them to focus on their business,? explained Brian Mackow-McGuire, programmes manager at BT.
The service will principally consist of a helpdesk, which will be able to tap into a customer?s PCs and fix problems remotely. ?The helpdesk is basically the IT equivalent of tyre-kicking - about 68 per cent of support problems can be cured with a phone call, and don?t require an engineer,? said Mackow-McGuire.
Field support for the new service will come from Wang, while IBM is to provide remote data storage for customers requiring back-up facilities. Distributor Technology will provide any PCs required.
The service is restricted to companies with a minimum of three PCs. ?Any less than that and it wouldn?t be profitable for them or us,? said Mackow-McGuire. After paying a #75 equipment audit fee, customers can then choose between four levels of service: gold, silver, bronze and standard, which will determine the speed of response and repair.
BT is initially targeting 1.5 million existing customers with information about the new service. ?We believe that small businesses are an untapped market and could be worth up to #3 billion in five years? time. BT is in a unique position to tap this resource as the divisions between IT and communication begin to blur,? said Mackow-McGuire.
A spokesman for established IT support provider Cap Gemini said: ?We have no plans to move into the small business end of the market at present - large companies are the core of our business.?
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