Compaq launches access-on-demand packages

Compaq customers will soon be able to pay for computers and services the same way they pay for heat and water, said a Compaq vice-president.

Compaq launched its access on demand package yesterday in Toronto, showcasing five computing on demand options which combine services and Compaq’s new line of Evo PC products.

Reg Schade, vice-president of global services for Compaq Canada, said this solution offers a single point of contact and simplifies enterprise computing environments by pricing the solutions on a per seat/per month basis. Customers pay for what they need, he said, and are able to gauge monthly costs.

“It’s starting to change the landscape of how we are competing in the market,” he said, adding that flexibility and time to market are rising quickly in importance. “It’s about trying to get ahead of the curve. In the planning phase, we are basically trying to take out some things that show up in the back end.”

Packages are sold with three-year contracts that include a determined set of hardware and services which include installation and warranty, help desk assistance, technology updates, asset reporting and program management. Customers can then chose to go beyond that scope of services and purchase additional custom solutions.

“Now when our PCs get to market, we are not selling a desktop,” he said. “We are selling a solution that serves the customer. We have targeted the mid-market and if we want the broadest market reach, it has to be something our customers want to take in.”

Rob Colraine, director of infrastructure deployment and support service at IDC Canada, said this announcement was timely because many of Compaq’s competitors – and partners – have announced similar plans.

“The vendors are looking to this and saying ‘Hey, you just pay so much a month and we will look after everything for you’,” he said. “HP offers a similar thing, IBM offers a similar thing, so it is nothing really new, but it was them saying that they had better get out there. HP was about six months ago and IBM, I don’t think, have formally announced anything.”

Colraine continued that this is the basic start of a utility model that would benefit customers by not asking for a large, up front payment on hardware. It also allows customers to plan for expenses as far as three years into the future, he added.

“There is a lot of lead up to getting to that stage, and this is sort of the first step,” he said, adding that convenience also makes this package attractive. “They don’t have to mess around with getting extended warranties and other little things.”

Schade said that customers have been looking to the market and finding that many manufacturers have pulled back on lifetime warranties and, instead, directing customers to help themselves on Internet support sites because the company can’t afford support costs.

“What we are doing is a model of single accountability with partners helping us,” he said, adding that Compaq would move with new technologies even with customers already signed into a three-year contract.

“If we have a 36-month term contract with a customer and we actually go for 36 months without having dialogue with that customer, well then, shame on us,” he said.

Houston-based Compaq is at

Toronto-based IDC Canada is at