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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Staples Is Now Selling IT Services: Didn't They Just Start Selling Managed Print Services?

"I think VARs that read this will be a little envious of what we have to offer here.

With Staples, we have a Fortune 100 organization, great relationships on the product side, and we can offer very competitive pricing and a great services story for customers as well," - Joe Kalinoski, vice president of finance for Staples Technology Solution.

According to sources, Staples Technology Solutions, the new division, will include access to "...certified specialists for Cisco Systems, Citrix, Linux and other areas; onsite and remote server and desktop support for Apple Mac, Windows and Linux platforms; printer fleet management; and data center assessments and other services ranging from sub-floor cleaning and 24x7 data center emergency supplies..."

- Holy Crap!

They can even clean your sub-floors! Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot?

First off - quite the bold marketing statement from the vice president of finance. I can not think of too many VARs who would be envious of working retail hours, wearing matching vests, and conducting inventory twice a year.

And when was the last time you heard a VP of Finance delve into corporate Value Props? Doesn't staples have a marketing department?

This new effort will fall under Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples.

The prose gets worse, Joe continues,

"By combining these two entities we have a one-source supplier of office products, print solutions and managed print IT services," he said.

"It was a logical evolution to get into the technology space. It was a natural that we were answering our customer calls for not only office products but also technology products. We think we can be one of the lowest-cost providers."


"one-source supplier"
"lowest-cost providers"

I guess Staples doesn't know what the "V" in VAR stands for.

The target market is focused on companies with 1-250 employees - they may have an IT department but they may not. Staples stresses an "intimate, high touch" strategy for this often overlooked niche.

"Staples is dipping its toe into the water in the IT services space," said Candy Murphy, vice president of Staples' Contract Technology Solutions.

Murphy said the goal is to offer the services nationally. Network and data offerings were the result of Staples' late 2006 acquisition of Thrive Networks, a Boston-area solution provider that services a large portion of eastern Massachusetts.

"The IT industry is highly fragmented," Murphy said, "It (Staples'reputation) brings the trust and the reliability of the brand name," she said.

Jim Lippie, president of Staples Network Services by Thrive said, "We bring a level of expertise and we've learned how the small business works," adding, "There's a real thirst for small businesses to have a larger provider while having the security, but high-touch of a smaller company"

Plus, "They want us to take ownership of all the headaches, mysteries, and risk associated with maintaining a company's IT infrastructure, and make it so they never have to think about them again," Lippie said. "In a nutshell, they want us to make their IT problems go away, and that's exactly what we do."

Time will tell.

But didn't IKON try to do this a while back? Everything except offereing to clean your sub-floors, that is.

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  1. Staples doing MPS?

    good luck on the bandwagon boys...

  2. I work at Staples, and our technology infrastructure 'solutions' are fragmented and laughable. How can staples, with their ancient inventory system, dialup speed internet, wired phones, 40 year vendor contracts, windows xp runnin' low end PCs for copy center, even attempt to offer technology advice to anyone!

    This is a mote/log tragedy.

  3. Technology makes an ever-increasing contribution to profitability in today’s highly competitive business landscape. However, the same technology that enables high productivity in the workplace can easily be compromised if not sufficiently secured.


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