Compaq re-aligns PC profile to be IT consulting giant

According to the man leading the local corporate strategy, Bill Merrick, marketing director of Compaq Australia, the public has a misconstrued perception of Compaq's product strength. While Compaq specialises in PCs and servers, "not too many people knew" it also provided IT and professional services consulting, Merrick said.

PCs comprise 40 cent of Compaq's total revenue, while IT and professional services (performed through acquired US companies Digital Technology and Tandem) generate 60 per cent of global earnings, according to Merrick.

"We didn't have any value left in the brand," he said. "It got lost from 1997 to 1998. We didn't tell (people) what else we did. We did a poor job," he conceded.

Merrick, former marketing head of Compaq Asia Pacific, had an overseas stint cut short early last year when Ian Penman, CEO of Compaq South Pacific, asked him to "come to Australia to fix the brand", Merrick said.

"Margins were diminishing and share prices were stagnant. The biggest shock to the organisation was strong sales performance but poor image," he said.

In Merrick's eyes, the challenge for Compaq now is not to claim it dominates the hardware market, but "prove" it has diversified into IT and business consulting -- asking the customer: "Do you realise we do this already everyday?" he said.

"We've built up a strong practice in Microsoft's Windows 2000 global rollout and redefined consulting areas in the financial services and telecommunications sector, providing non-stop systems architecture for Intel and Hewlett-Packard," said Merrick.

However, IT alliances aside, Compaq will have some harsh global customer satisfaction findings to reckon with over the next few years.

"There's been an erosion of brand values and customer satisfaction scores in the last three years," said Merrick. Compaq's global brand image has declined by 10 per cent since 1998, he said. "Our customer focus was in the wrong areas. We probably confused customers."

Merrick will attempt to reposition the brand this year not merely through advertising, but by testing an "image confusion hypothesis" on the enterprise. "People think of branding as this warm and fluffy notion. It's not. Brand is the commercial decision to invest in all your pulling power to lead the market," he said.

"Image is the major driver for sales and market share," he added.

How well Compaq executes the strategy -- embodied in the release of the Internet Security Healthcheck Service, the wireless pocket PC, iPAQ, and the high-end business server, NeoServer -- and its flexibility towards market change "whenever needed", are some "major constraints" ahead of the company, Merrick believes.

"(Considering) factors like supply, growth in the industry, emerging technologies and competitors . . . we operate in a volatile environment," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Helen Han

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?