Sony Vaio Targets Small Businesses
Long known in the consumer space for its high-quality notebooks, Sony is making a push into the SMB market with its Vaio brand.
By Michael Siggins
To find out how Sony is appealing to VARs to get on board and carry the Vaio line, ChannelPro-SMB Publisher Michael Siggins spoke with Vaio’s Senior Business Development Manager John Gawa.
ChannelPro-SMB: Why is Vaio focusing on small businesses?
Gawa: Our lineup suits small business more so than the enterprise with its formalized IT and long evaluation and selection process. We like to stay state of the art and on the innovative side. Because of that, we need to keep refreshing our product, which is much more [appealing] to a small business; the business then has a product that is technologically relevant for a period of time, rather than they get it and a year later there’s something new.
ChannelPro-SMB: Sony has great brand recognition and proven quality, especially in the consumer market. Do small businesses see Vaio as a business product?
Gawa: We know that the perception of Vaio is primarily consumer, and that’s what we’re working to change. The reality is these machines really are for business, and depending on the series, there are different relevant business functions that would appeal to a wide range of SMBs.
Our BZ is a very durable, standard, full-size notebook. It’s a long-life-cycle product that is designed as a standard business platform. We have our high-end Z series, which is ultraportable, highly mobile, and has good battery life-a very strong case for the road warrior. We have our CW series, which is thin and light and focused on the mainstream market. For each series, there are a lot of business-relevant features.
ChannelPro-SMB: How has Windows 7 affected Vaio?
Gawa: All of our new notebooks were introduced with Windows 7, and acceptance is very strong in the small business community. In fact, some who pre-downgraded say they don’t want [what they ordered] anymore; they want Windows 7.
ChannelPro-SMB: What solutions is Vaio offering beyond the hardware?
Gawa: We have a services division called Backstage. We are developing more and more services capabilities. It started with simple installation services, but it has progressed to more total care-type services, and we’re always looking to add a new offering to that arena.
ChannelPro-SMB: What is your pitch to resellers to encourage them to carry Vaio?
Gawa: The value proposition is that this is the notebook you would lead with for small business. There are so many different segments that you can appeal to that you can make more money on it. We have priority, level-two technical service for the VAR and a wide range of programs, such as value incentive programs and demo programs. We also offer a trade-in program on some series of notebooks that, depending on whether the processor meets a certain minimum requirement, provides a $100 or $300 trade-in value [toward] the purchase of a new Vaio.
Plus, one of our strengths is that we offer the widest range of products and solutions of any manufacturer. We have TVs, digital imaging products, professional displays, and on and on. So the solution provider can really go to Sony as a one-stop shop for solutions.