In the 20 years and more that I have been buying equipment for enterprise little has changed in the â€˜channelâ€™ market when it comes to dealing suppliers ( be they Dell, IBM, Compaq, HP or Cisco ).
You find yourself a good account manager and attempt to establish a credit account then you begin the process of ensuring that the long term support and communication with the supplier is maintained and managed.
The goal is to get the best price/performance for hardware purchased and to ensure that presales advice has matched your expectations to your requirements and that you have negotiated suitable long term support in terms of engineers on site.
Then along comes Apple.
Apple products are turning up in enterprise and from my perspective Apple has has no clear strategy for dealing with Small and Medium Sized businesses who engage with my services to buy Apple products.
I can buy an Apple in one of their Stores or over the Internet however there are no mechanisms for me to arrange for the details for that purchase to be registered in the interests of the client. There are no 3 Year Pro support options that result in Apple certified engineers arriving on site, I may have to take the product to an Apple store or contact Apple and send the purchase away. There is little in the way of a asset management or warranty management toolsets to help with System Administration and auditing. In short Apple have some strategic gaps in their delivery which is getting in the way of business.
Personally I have managed a great contact within Apple Sales and between us we are walking through my expectations and the requirements of my client. We are identifying the areas of weakness that will contrast with my existing delivery of Dell hardware ( predominately on Site Support and warranty management ) and we are planning how this will scale if we were to consider a larger volume of orders.
Clearly it is early days for Apple in the boardroom and for many SMEs Apples presence is growing but how this will be managed is a technique Apple is learning.
Thanks for reading.