In a recent interview with ComputerWorld Espana, the director of DEC Espana’s newly-formed Multisupplier Services Division, Gonzalo Sanz, explained that this division was just one of the new business divisions to spring from Robert Palmer’s presidency, and that in Spain 20% of the company’s business was coming from non-Digital environments, with about 35% of DEC Espana’s turnover resulting from maintenance and services. For 1994 this last figure could reach 40%, $91.2m, he claims. First of all, the division has been set up as a result of client demand, with an increasing number of traditional DEC customers suggesting that the company should play the role of a single integrator of all the necessary maintenance and support services. Besides this, adds Sanz, users see the advantages to be gained from relying on one company with respect to simplifying their structures, increasing efficiency in this area and cutting costs. Questioned about the reactions of manufacturers to this type of initiative, Sanz believes that, up until recently, the Spanish market had been very cautious, with companies being very careful not to tread on each others’ toes, while trying to protect their own installations. This is changing, he maintains, and with a very attractive market in prospect, companys must be open to the idea of working together, but at the same time there will certainly be dogfights between competitors. Meanwhile the users’ reactions to the manufacturers’ incursions into maintenance and support services are divided, in that, on the one hand, there is little resistance from users in the highly competitive field of microcomputing, where it is simply a matter of the price having to be right. In other fields users are more cautious about taking the plunge. DEC’s new division, staffed by some 250 people, has two headquarters, in Madrid and Barcelona, which provide maintenance service and technical support for mid-range and large systems, backed up by service centres in the various provincial capitals, and a national service centre that is specialising in microcomputing.
From square one
In all, support is offered for more than 14,000 products coming from 1,300 different suppliers. Meanwhile, the second part of the division is a sales force that offers the full range of DEC’s services, and includes a business development group which remains in contact with the market in order to shape the company’s services to the users’ needs. Besides the traditional services, DEC offers personal computer integration and everything relating to design, installation, start-up, from square one through to when the local area network is in operation. It is a new step for the Spanish arm to be essentially offering the same services as in the UK and the US, Sanz points out, but of course the Spanish market has a lot of ground to make up in the sense that the concept of multi-manufacturer services has taken much deeper root in the users’ consciousness in Britain and America for example, where there is greater competition in this field and less resistance to the purchase of such services. Nevertheless, this market will grow by around 10% to 12% a year in Spain, Sanz believes, while he predicts that DEC itself will grow 12% to 14% a year in this area.