Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Computacenter shows faith in ERP

(By Anthony Miller). Leading UK reseller, Computacenter, called a snap analyst meeting this morning to update the market on year-end trading (see here). Normally that presages bad news, but this was not at all the case. In fact, CEO Mike Norris alluded to profits and EPS ahead of consensus. UK and Germany looked good, with particular strength in services. As for France, well, “much remains to be done”. Norris also announced a raft of cost-saving measures. These included closing the PC and printer side of their trade distribution business (which was down 14%) to focus on more profitable servers and related products, along with other ‘structural changes’.

But the investment that really caught my eye was the £25m Computacenter is going to spend over the next three years to upgrade its ERP system. Now, you would have thought that in these tough times businesses would be adopting the ‘make do and mend’ approach to IT expenditure, leaving major investments till the storm clouds pass. In any event, when they do have to spend money on IT, most businesses are looking for short-term returns. So this is an ‘interesting’ commitment to make and I hope to find out more later.

Otherwise, it’s good to see Computacenter’s huge focus on services. As the bottom end of the PC market hits double-digit pricing with the £99 ‘netbook’, the margin to be made on hardware products gets slimmer and slimmer!

No comments: