PCR chats to Forum Computers about the store's plans for 2014

Store of the Month: Forum Computers

Computer Engineer Ian Kirk tells us how the company is growing its IT support business, what it would like to see more from vendors and its plans to expand in 2014.

A number of distributors and vendors have said High Street stores should do more to compete with B2B resellers. Is that important to you?
B2B is extremely important to us and it is starting to become our dominant area of services that we provide as a company.

How did your company get started?
We started in 2003 and originally focused on home PC repairs. We were situated in a busy local shopping centre called The Forum, which is where we got our name. As our footfall and customer base steadily increased we realised our premises was too small to cope, so in early 2007 we moved to our current site on Roman Way.

How has the business changed over the years?
When we first opened our doors we focused on repairs and sales of computer hardware and software. In recent years we’ve started to focus more on IT support for businesses, offering "break & fix" services. We’re now moving on to offering managed services.

What type of services do you offer?
We sell a number of products including motherboard, processors, memory, GPU, peripherals, sound cards, and antivirus and backup software. We also sell a range of laptops, tablets and computers.

In terms of services, we offer business IT support. We also diagnose and repair tablets and computers, and also offer managed services and cloud and virtualisation technologies.

What’s been your biggest growth area recently?
Providing businesses with IT support – maintenance, hardware and software – has been a big area of growth for us.

Do you belong to a vendor partner programme?
Yes, we are members of a number of partner programmes, two of which are Microsoft and Nvidia.

How has this helped your business?
While being partners with Microsoft, we’ve had the opportunity to sell Office software packages through its web portal. This has enabled us to have a single area where we can manage and deploy new and potential customers’ Office licences and trials.

It has also supplied us with PoS equipment and branding. While this has helped us to improve and increase our services, we would like to see Microsoft offering us training as we do find the website to be clunky and non-intuitive.

We would like to see vendor partners getting more involved by sending us information on a more regular basis.

What do you have planned for 2014?
We plan to further increase our current business portfolio next year. We’ll also be looking to move all of our current customers to managed proactive support, and start the transition of moving services over to the cloud.

Do you have any advice for new businesses?
Always listen to your customers and adapt the range of services you offer. It is essential to offer great customer service to encourage them to come back time and time again.

Year established: 2003
Number of outlets: One
Number of staff: Seven
Contact name and address: Forum Computers (Lincoln) Ltd Unit 18 Gateway Park, South Hykeham, Lincolnshire, LN6 9UH Telephone: 01522 683400
Email: shop@forumcomputers.co.uk
Website: www.forumcomputers.co.uk

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