Kevin Gilroy, the former channel chief at Hewlett-Packard Corp. and a popular figure among VARs, turned up this week in the New York offices of ComputerRepair.com, where he will be the company’s “face” for customers and users, ComputerRepair said yesterday.
The company, which operates an online marketplace for IT services, expects Gilroy to direct the new channel focus of its service provider business model and provide added credibility among the VARs it relies on as both customers and providers, said Jeffrey Leventhal, president and chief executive officer of ComputerRepair.com.
ComputerRepair.com functions as a clearinghouse for VARs in search of, or offering, IT services nationwide. For $11 users can offer a job for a set price, and service providers nationwide bid for the opportunity to perform the job.
ComputerRepair operates an automated platform that vets VARs’ qualifications to ensure that they can perform the jobs they bid for and facilitates payments.
Gilroy’s new title will be vice president and general manager, and all customer-facing aspects of the companysales, users, etc.will answer to Gilroy, Leventhal said.
“Our business is so channel-related, and this guy is like one of the superheroes of the channel,” Leventhal said. “Somehow he has always managed to be well respected, and fair and likeable, and yet still do a great job for his own companies.”
Because ComputerRepair.com’s business is a new concept and often misunderstood, Leventhal said, the addition of Gilroy should bring a major dose of credibility among channel members.
“We’re not competition for the channel, we give the channel business,” he said. “We allow VARs to leverage themselves to offer services they could not otherwise offer in places they could not otherwise offer. Kevin gets that, and his reputation is such that the fact that he does means others will as well.”
ComputerRepair.com now claims 12,000 users, 93 percent of which classify themselves as VARs, Leventhal said. Most users both buy and sell services, he said.
The company recently signed a deal with TechSelect, the SMB (small and midsize business) arm of distributor Tech Data Corp., to allow its members to act as ComputerRepair.com users.
ComputerRepair.com is also preparing to rename the company in a manner that better reflects the managed-service scope of the business, he said.
Gilroy left HP in September after 24 years, because it was becoming difficult working for a West Coast-based organization from the East Coast, he said in September. Gilroy lives in Philadelphia.
Also in a September interview with ChannelInsider, Gilroy talked about the prominence of service offerings for VARs.
“A manufacturer can ship a PC, but they can’t solve a solution for a five-person auto body shop, a two-person law firm or a 10-person accounting firm. That is the purview of the VARs,” he said.
“The services sector is a wealth of opportunity. Companies need to mitigate downtime risk. With IT becoming the spinal cord, the SMB needs IT up and running all the time, free from viruses, worms and anything that causes downtime. The SMB will not be ready to regularly say $700 is OK to pay for service calls, so you are going to have to see some development on the business model to make it available and affordable. Create a win-win situation and a balanced scorecard for everyone, and everyone wins.”