ComputerGroup Plc, the largest UK franchisee of the multinational distributor and franchisor ComputerLand Corp, claims that the future belongs to IBM products and described itself as a kind of IBM branch office. Despite the fact that ComputerGroup argues for a degree of objectivity with the companies with whom it deals, which include Toshiba, Compaq and […]
ComputerGroup Plc, the largest UK franchisee of the multinational distributor and franchisor ComputerLand Corp, claims that the future belongs to IBM products and described itself as a kind of IBM branch office. Despite the fact that ComputerGroup argues for a degree of objectivity with the companies with whom it deals, which include Toshiba, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard in the hardware stakes, and software companies Lotus, Microsoft and Ashton-Tate, the company declared that the focus on cheaper hardware will diminish and IBM will come up trumps in terms of its service and support. Indeed, it was the service side of the business that the ComputerGroup wished to stress even though it, at present, accounts for only 20% of its sales. These pronouncements were made as the company announced its end of year results which saw pre-tax profits rise 72% to UKP1m on revenues up 90% to UKP20.3m. During the past financial year ComputerGroup opened new ComputerLand centres in Bradford and Milton Keynes, and successfully merged all five London ComputerLand Centres into the company. The company also opened a Product and Systems Integration Centre, launched a direct computer supplies business called ComputerLand Direct, and opened three new customer training centres. To help stress its services side a Customer Services Division has been created to integrate support, training, application development, and network services. The company was also anxious to publicise the fact that it has a ratio of two customer services staff for each sales executive and clearly wants to ditch the impression that it is a high street retailer. Probably the source of most pride to the company, however, is the four IBM Systems Centre Accreditations it notched up over the past year along with an IBM Quality Dealership of the Year Award. It admits to mirroring IBM’s corporate structure and promotes IBM’s architecture and system strategies (something that Compaq can’t be too happy about), but denies that either IBM or ComputerLand advise it on policy. As for the future, ComputerGroup hopes to build on two methodologies which it introduced this year: its Management Services Plan that enables the customer to configure his or her own services contract; and its Network Structured Support Programme under which it designs, installs, and supports a customer’s network. In fact, networking is already a major revenue earner with sales growing by 45% over the past year to contribute 50% of the company’s total turnover and will continue to be ComputerGroup’s dominant product. The company is confident about the future saying that its infrastructure is in place for 1992 thanks to its partner ComputerLand Europe SA; but the Plc has no specific plans for going public.