June 19, 2008

Walnut Firm Gives Workplace Technology a Boost

By Ben Baeder

DIAMOND BAR - For company owners who know they need more computer power but are afraid to jump into the technological deep end, workers at Professional Computer Maintenance (PCM) say they can help.

Staffers at the Walnut-based company, whose retail unit is DTR Business Systems, on Wednesday held a tech fair to show exactly what they could offer.

"Most people who started a small business are so used to being involved in every decision," said Erin Parker, the company's national sales manager.

"Letting go of the reins for them is difficult. We come in and help them find out what they can do to grow,"

he said.

The company specializes in offering hardware packages that enable businesses to better use their software. They also provide hosting, Internet security, equipment that allows employees to work at remote locations and data backup, among other services.

Parker said small business owners usually do not want to be at the mercy of a hired information technology expert and a finicky computer network.

"These are successful people," he said. "I think some of them would rather have a system that does not work than have to ask for help and get belittled by some computer guy."

Instead, many go to PCM to handle their computer needs, he said.

"For us, we can have one guy in a room monitoring, say, seven accounts," he said. "So we can give better, more reliable service at close to one-seventh of the price."

At the fair, which was attended by about 30 people at the Ayres Suites in Diamond Bar, General Manager

Gabriel Hernandez talked about "thin clients," which is a device about the size of a VHS cassette that connects users to a server.

Rather than each employee having a personal computer at the desk, the $200 devices allow the company to control software updates, monitor employee Internet use and save money on hardware, all from a central location.

Also at the fair was the Microsoft Across America demonstration van, which featured new technology from the computer giant.

Representatives from gasoline retail stores watched as a Microsoft demonstrator showed off a cash register that not only counted money but took care of the payroll, coordinated human resources and controlled inventory.

John Dyer, who runs Mesa, Ariz.-based Petroleum Data Specialists, a company that builds accounting software for fuel distributors, has worked with PCM and DTR for 25 years.

He counts on the companies to give him just the right hardware for his clients.

The PCM staff adjust to customers' budgets, sizes and expertise, he said.

"I'm pretty savvy," he said. "But when I reach the wall and I don't know what to do, I can pick up the phone and get things solved."

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