DMSL, the distributor of BT broadband and related services, is backing resellers to win the fight for SMEs in the face of competition for broadband and services business from new entrants into the market such as Sky, The Carphone Warehouse and others.
Managing Director John Carter, says that resellers are still much better-placed than any large corporation to deliver the advice, service and support that small businesses need. “At the end of the day, local businesses want to deal with local people – someone who understands them and their business and is prepared to give them a personal service.”
DMSL say that in recent weeks there have been a number of new entrants into the broadband and services markets – The Carphone Warehouse has recently bought AOL and is expected to bring the Tech Geeks service to the UK later this year. This news has come hard on the heels of PC World Business launching its Tech Guys service. Carter says that they are being lured into the market by the growing influence of broadband but believes that, while they may well make some impact on the domestic front, they will be unable to penetrate the small business market to a significant degree.
“These companies are being drawn in by the prospect of the digital content market – we have seen music move that way and now there is a conviction that TV and video will go that way too. – Sky is moving into broadband while BT is moving into television but the key to it all is broadband. Without that, you can’t deliver the content. They are also making a play for the SME market but I do not believe they have too much success in that area – the needs of small businesses are too diverse and they typically want to work face-to-face with suppliers – not with faceless suppliers.”
Carter cites DMSL’s own growth and success as evidence that SMEs prefer to deal with SMEs. In little more than four years, the company has grown from a standing start to employing 50 people and generating more than £40 million worth of business for ICT resellers every year. The company employs a unique sell-through model which generates ready-made sales for resellers and brings new customers to them on a regular basis. The reseller provides local service and support and works to develop the account, providing first-hand advice and guidance for local small businesses.
The provision of local service and support is a vital part of the equation, says Carter and the key reason why ambitious corporate schemes cannot work. “There are numerous services – such as VoIP, video-conferencing, remote working and collaboration as well as managed security and hosted applications that broadband enables for small businesses – but they need help in understanding what it can deliver to them and how to maximise the benefits – that’s why companies like BT will always need resellers, they can’t reach the SME market or come anywhere near to meeting it’s needs without them.”