Can Staples be your IT department?

Can Staples be your IT department?

Summary: Staples launched a technology unit to deliver everything from data center hosting to printer management to network services.

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Staples on Tuesday launched a technology unit to deliver everything from data center hosting to printer management to network services.

The division, Staples Technology Solutions, is the combination of two acquisitions by the retailer in recent years. In 2008, Staples acquired Corporate Express' imaging and computer graphics supply business. In 2006, Staples acquired Thrive Networks.

Until now, those IT services were lumped under the Staples Advantage division, the business-to-business unit. Staples revenue is evenly roughly evenly split between its retail and B2B units.

Under the Staples flag, the company will have a more coherent message to deliver to small and mid-sized businesses and Fortune 1,000 companies, said Jim Lippie, vice president of Staples Network Services.

"We are the IT department for many customers on the small end. Our sweet spot is companies with 40 to 50 employees," said Lippie in an interview. However, Staples also provides labor to augment existing IT departments.

Lippie said that Staples Technology Solutions has about 400 employees focused on managed services, network administration and other IT tasks. In the field, Staples Technology Solutions competes with CDW and local and regional resellers.

Staples Technology Solutions has the following services:

  • Managed services and on-site and remote server and desktop support;
  • Printer fleet management;
  • Data center assessments and supplies;
  • And procurement software that takes advantage of Staples e-commerce know-how.

The company also resells equipment to businesses.

Other key points via Lippie:

  • Staples is looking to grow the unit and focus on the midmarket. The growth approach will be "profitable and measured," but Lippie also sees a lot of open field running in the market.
  • There is no overlap between promoting Staples Technology Solutions in stores. Lippie explained that the two sides of the business focus on entirely different markets. The stores are focused on microbusinesses with one to five workers.

And here's how Staples is positioning its IT services group.

Topics: Printers, Browser, CXO, Data Centers, E-Commerce, Hardware, Storage

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16 comments
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  • Didn't they try this a couple years ago?

    And Failed miserably.....

    Wasn't it Staples Tech Expo or something like that? I'd never use them (or Geek Squad) for anything.
    itguy08
  • well Its always depend on what change they wanna do

    First :employer
    a 18 years old paid 12$/hour who dont give a
    rat @ss about you .... its not a it expert nor
    a it consultant .. they can barely give you
    hint on how to buy you printer .

    second: choice
    as long they will only sell entry level
    computer and,or equipment it wont work.

    Third: Price
    273$ can$ to make a computer clean-up and
    reinstall its theft many consultant or local
    IT pro will offer package deal under 100$ .

    Forth Image
    will you go to a shop that staff look like drop
    out and seen to know nothing about IT beside
    the corporate line .

    Staple can do it but they will have to hired
    and change a lot of thing
    Quebec-french
  • RE: Can Staples be your IT department?

    Nope, they don't have any experience in this field. It's a contract, and contractors do not live up to your full time in-house employees.
    Loverock Davidson
  • RE: Can Staples be your IT department?

    Getting the equipment to function is pretty much useless as an expense for business. IT contains the old Computer Services department, which was responsible for increasing productivity. This area has pretty much been eliminated by most IT departments, which is why computers aren't helping most businesses, no matter how much they spend and spend and spend...
    tburzio
  • Uber-Branding 101 Lessons?

    Staples has, via acquisition, bought at least one of everything a "small business" can use.

    They even offer promotional products (pens, hats, etc.).

    So, now there core competency is what - the business of business services?

    Maybe they see something that's eluded everyone else.
    nottheusual1
    • Name != reliability

      Case in point: Microsoft.

      People get all orgasmic over the name. Quality ain't there and I wouldn't want to be a MS employee right now. Despite massive profits, the company taking corporate welfare (government money for free), tax cuts, and everything else, they still fire qualified workers in favor of cheap replacements. (now imagine if the existing workers have to train their replacements, which isn't outlandish a concept as plenty of web searches reveal that to be true for various companies. In short, replacement worker quality is rubbish and/or existing workers are being passive-aggressive and lowering their own quality. The price of loyalty might be too high for even Microsoft to buy, if that's what they're doing. And given all the handouts from the US government, they do have a moral obligation.)

      http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-to-grassley-were-still-using-h-1bs-no-moral-imperative-to-hire-americans-2009-3

      http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/2/7/184312/5388
      (my personal favorite)

      http://www.eiass.com/E-NewsOffshoring157.html

      http://www.ctj.org/html/corp0402.htm
      (dated but I doubt anything has changed, in taxpayers' favor, since...)
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Can Staples be your IT department?

    If the help they have on the floor is any indication of how smart the Tech people will be, Staples in grave trouble! I find myself correcting floor help all the time because they are so unequipped to handle most intelligent customer questions. Many of these customers thank me for the correct answer, then ask more questions, and then go buy elsewhere. Maybe Staples is better elsewhere but, not where I live.

    With the poor pay the floor help makes, there is no reason to believe that Staples will attract quality, knowledgeable, and competent help anytime soon. I know I wouldn't work for them given the horror stories that come from ex-employees. They need to stick to office supplies and forget I.T. Support!
    The Rifleman
    • I agree totaly

      nt
      sehamon
    • Quite! We need small businesses that do things well.

      Not large ones that will pilfer and pillage for profits, and making a false claim they are there for the customers. They aren't. And big companies doing this just lower wages. Do people really want to work for slave wages? Does a race to the bottom help Main Street's economy or freedom?
      HypnoToad72
  • The one strong point is who they are targeting.

    I still say no one has tapped the small business (under 50 total employes) effectively, if Staples can then more power to them.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • You MISSED the point, which many said.

      Big companies can do these sham deals, but poor quality can be worse than none.

      Paying pitiful wages won't compel people to do a better job.

      Not to mention small businesses that hustle and bustle already -- they exist. Why does a big name with a paper clip logo need to kick them out of the park?

      Read up and look around. Our whole economy has become just a giant pyramid scheme anyway...
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Can Staples be your IT department?

    Staples being an IT department for consumers. That's a laugh in itself.

    Even there basic IT services in each store is a joke.
    I am an A+, Network+, and Server+ certified technician.

    When I was working for Staples, even the work that had to be done a few years ago was pathetic.

    Staples is months behind in the technological products they offer. Why should I trust a company that can't keep up with the changing technology. Besides, one thing I do know is that Staples cuts corners when it comes to IT servicing.

    At least when I work on a system or a network, I give them excellent customer service as well as I do that little extra that Staples would normally charge for.
    dbucyk@...
    • Not to mention, iNet was canned 2 years ago... oh,

      those certs are good for general knowledge, but not much more.

      Never mind the speed of technologies - given costs, it's impossible to keep up when people trying to make a living can't keep up.

      The TARP TRAP and the rest Bush did last year, which "saved the economy" and the other shoveled comments that were yanked fresh out of the cow were merely delayed. I think the collapse is inevitable, if current conditions do not change and small businesses and real wealth don't come back to Main Street. Pyramid and ponzi schemes and forced devaluing of ideas and labor don't support anything. For 99%+ of the population and a collapse means 100% of the population.
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Can Staples be your IT department?

    First, please don't tout your titles like that, it makes you seem less professional. But I do agree. I also worked for Staples for a short time as a tech. It started almost as an empirical experience, because it was the first time I had seen the consumer side of technical assistance, how those who had no idea how to operate a computer saw the world. Then it switched to a completely different revelation. Staples IT is not about helping the consumer, its about lining pockets. They give techs around the world a bad name. After only eight months on payroll I had to quit, it was beginning to sully my own reputation as a computer tech that I even worked for them. Each week the gimmicks they cooked up to get their techs to sell more services the customer didn't need got worse. By the time I quit, they had even dreamed up this stupid PC start-up, where, for free mind you, they would plug in and set up your computer, turn it on, and make sure that it would boot all the way into windows without a problem. We were supposed to push this on all NEW PCs. When corporate sent down the memo as to why the campaign, they told us it kept the customer in the store for an average of 15 to 30 min more, and that it gave us time to sell more attachments to customers that had already declined us at least 2 in near-scripted sales pitches.
    sehamon
    • predatory marketing. And another perspective into people mired in debt

      It's not always the freezing and/or stomping down on wages for "a job well done despite it all", but slimy sales tactics. You *NEED* this, even when it isn't needed.

      What you described definitely is unethical and immoral.

      And I've read far worse.

      Right down to where the store demands its employees mention the store brand credit card - in some cases, if an employee doesn't meet a quota they get axed. (Gee, so the employee has to rely on the customer's desire or ability to get a card now?!! Bloodsuckers! Astonishing. Just astonishing...)
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Can Staples be your IT department?

    Wellllll. I went in to buy a USB External Drive.
    Staples had:
    removed any ability to check compatibility with
    OS/Version/etc

    And:
    had labelled item as 'PC Compatible'.

    It wasn't.

    My fault for not reading the Phine Print.
    Which Was Wrong AND Not Supplied.

    Not Strictly to the article's point, but
    perhaps relevant...
    oddjob1947