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Computacenter shuts standalone SME business unit

Microscope contributor

As part of a wider restructure Computacenter is walking away from small business clients and has effectively closed the standalone Customer Coverage Unit (CCU), the telesales operation set up to target SMEs.

 

The business unit started life as CC Direct in 2005 and at a cost of £4m was hailed by Computacenter's senior management as the single biggest investment for the group that year.

 

Around 50 CCU staff have been laid off and the other half have been redeployed throughout the other five divisions - Public Sector, Financial Services, System Integrators, Financial Markets and Industrial & Commercial.

 

"We are cutting off the bottom end of the CCU and focusing on customers with 500 seats and above, those that can buy the full range of products and services," Mike Norris, Computacenter chief executive told MicroScope.

 

"I had been worried that enterprise customers were going to buy direct with greater frequency so I wanted a bigger share of small customers' wallet, but organisations have not gone direct in the volumes we expected," he added.

 

Mid-market customers that were handled by CCU have moved with the remaining account managers into the five divisions.

 

Martin Hellawell, managing director at Softcat, said it had not frequently encountered Computacenter in the SME market but its presence had always presented a potential threat. 

 

Breaking into the small and mid-sized business space was not easy for corporate resellers/ integrators and service providers to achieve said Alastair Edwards, senior analyst at Canalys.

 

"There are a lot of resellers that are small and focused on local customers and play an important role [in the provision of services]," he said.

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