Further changes for HCI firms

Further changes for HCI firms

Many channel players have had to rearrange staff as a result of government decision

The majority of channel players have had to redeploy, and even in some cases lay off staff, as a result of the government scrapping the Home Computing Initiative (HCI).

PC builder Evesham had invested heavily in HCI. Carolyn Worth, external relations manager at Evesham, told CRN: "As we've recently been accepted as a supplier on Catalist we've been able to redeploy our HCI staff to work on the catalyst account. Around a quarter of our turnover came from HCI so we're not in as bad a situation as some firms who solely focused on HCI."

HCI provider Computers for Staff told CRN that while it was still in business, it had "had to make a few staff redundant", while specialist HCI reseller OneCallPC said it was "clinging on by its teeth".

"Although HCI is/was our sole business, because we ran some of the largest schemes in the UK and we're supported by our sister companies, we haven’t made any staff redundant yet. But the scrapping of the HCI is going to hurt our business," said John Laity, marketing director at OneCallPC.

Nigel Yates, director at reseller Assured Systems, said: "HCI wasn't our main business but we were looking forward to it becoming a major part as we had predicted that in the next 12 months things would really take off in the SMB market which is the area we served."

Stuart Macdonald, managing director of reseller Mouse in the House, echoed Yates' view: "We dealt mainly with HCI schemes for SMEs. We had a fantastic pipeline of contracts and then the scheme got pulled. We've had to redeploy our HCI staff."

Mike Gammie, IT services development manager at VAR Misco, added: "We were very lucky as we outsourced our HCI offering out to Encompass HCI. However we were at the stage where we were about to invest in HCI more heavily because we were really starting to see good inroads."

Cheltenham-based BizzApp provided the software used by many of the leading HCI providers. Rob Howes, a director at BizzApp, said: "We've got a dedicated team of four people who will probably have to go. We can't keep waiting indefinitely to see if a new scheme will emerge."