CDW Hones In On The Enterprise

Last week, the company opened a new Enterprise Configuration Center, a facility capable of configuring and testing complete, multivendor solutions that include any product CDW sells.

"We've had a configuration center, but this allows us to focus on higher-end, rack-mounted servers [and] routers, doing a full solution in which we can work with the customer to get it exactly as they need," said Oren Hartman, vice president of national sales at CDW.

>> CDW hopes to show manufacturers it can sell more complex solutions than it does now.

The 8,000-square-foot center, located at CDW's headquarters in Vernon Hills, Ill., can configure more than 200 servers simultaneously. It has a Gigabit and fiber backbone and 100 modular benches with dedicated power and circuitry, and is staffed by about two dozen technicians.

The center will help CDW better serve SMB customers migrating to enterprise-class products, said Randy Condon, partner business manager of enterprise server and storage products at Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, Calif. "The SMB marketplace is where customers need that support. For those folks to receive a tested, installation-ready solution saves [them] a great deal of time and headache."

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The center also complements CDW's expansion of its field-sales force to penetrate midsize and large customers, said Brian Alexander, vice president of equity research, technology distribution at Raymond James and Associates.

In addition to attracting enterprise customers, CDW hopes to show manufacturers it can sell more complex solutions than it is currently authorized to, Hartman said.

Vendors should take notice of CDW's increasing capabilities, Alexander said. "Look at their product portfolio. They offer everything under the sun, but their biggest hole is in the enterprise space," he said. "Along with the rapid growth of their sales specialist teams, this should entice enterprise vendors to utilize CDW as a channel to reach the SMB segment."

CDW will work with customers to install the products on-site, most likely utilizing one of its service provider partners or helping the end user identify a solution provider, Hartman said.