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Dell as a Service

Despite a customer support and service reputation that is nothing less than embarrassing, Dell intends to evolve its December 2007 acquisition of Everdream and that company's Uptime Services Suite remote management products as well as the company's July 2007 acquisition of Silverback Technologies into a remote service offering. Everdream's software brings remote management capabilities such as patch management, anti-virus updates, online backup and data encryption while SilverBack's solution was primarily focused on infrastructure monitoring and management.

Steve Schuckenbrock, President and CIO of Dell's Global Services, predicted a remote information technology management service sold to small and midsize businesses (SMB) which will identify and remedy issues and problems with users' systems before they escalate or impair the users' experience. Dell is piloting the remote management service with about a dozen companies and plans to commercially release the managed service in the America's during the summer and in Europe and Asia before calendar year end. According to Schuckenbrock, Dell wants to capitalize on its expertise in configurability and supply chain distribution and bring to the supply chain of services the know how that Michael Dell brought to the supply chain of hardware over twenty years ago.

While I believe the outsourcing of IT maintenance, management and evolution is a valuable service that many small and midsize businesses would enjoy offloading for a reasonable fee, I question whether Dell or any other non-consumer friendly hardware vendor can be successful in this high-touch, customer relationship driven market. Terms such as DellHell remain highly relevant in the PC user psyche and the prior move of the company's customer support to India was utter frustration for Dell's customers and a complete debacle for Dell. Perhaps in a similar industry cost cutting mode, HP and IBM have moved much of their customer support and help desk centers to India and are experiencing similar customer frustrations. For a recent point of reference, I recently tried to purchase an AC adapter for my HP laptop. Unfortunately, they sent the wrong unit. No big deal I thought, until I attempted to speak to an offshore customer service representative to exchange the unit for the right part. No joy. After over one hour of speaking with two individuals who incurred significant difficulty with the English language, I finally gave up on the exchange; and have since given up on HP. While HP and the other hardware companies can churn consumer accounts and get away with it, this type of behavior cannot withstand the expectations of the SMB market and prove to be a viable business operation.

While not confirmed, it appears Dell will approach the remote management as a service with the use of its direct sales force as well as through channel partners, value added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers.

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March 24, 2008 at 11:50 PM in SaaS | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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This blog is focused on hosted, on-demand or software as a service (collectively SAAS) business solutions. To qualify as a SaaS solution, the service should be offered on a subscription (pay as you go) purchase price, housed in a multi-tenant data center and delivered remotely over the Web to web browsers. Business applications include about any front office or back office business system. Frequently cited business applications include Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Sales Force Automation (SFA) systems, Enterprise Resource Planning(ERP) systems, Supply Chain Management (SCM) systems, Manufacturing Systems and Human Resource (HR) systems.