Dell: The Case for a Single-Solution Provider

    I was invited down to Dell’s Enterprise Solution Center in Singapore a couple of weeks ago. There, Dell took the opportunity to showcase its comprehensive range of end-to-end solutions and product offerings for businesses.

    At the heart is the premise of how Dell is able to assist in the implementation of both data center and on-premise infrastructure deployments. According to Philip Davis, vice president of the Enterprise Solutions Group in the Asia-Pacific and Japan, a common problem with mixed solutions deployment has to do with the tendency for vendors to dismiss problems as being caused by other factors outside their jurisdiction.

    This is probably a scenario that is all too familiar with many small and mid-sized businesses, and could be the result of a mistaken prognosis, or a simple miscommunication. “Finger pointing between vendors takes time and resources, but is not a value-add,” observed Davis. On the premise that Dell as a one-stop center is more price-competitive, he also noted that it “frees up budget for customers to spend on innovation.”

    On the other hand, Davis does concede that many SMBs are forced to approach a single vendor due to vendor lock-in. Alluding to how proprietary solutions that are not compatible with third-party solutions could leave customers dependent on a single vendor for future expansion, he says: “If you look at my major competitors, that’s the strategy.” However, Davis says Dell does not mandate that customers purchase products from the company.

    Success Stories

    To illustrate Dell’s competency, the company invited IT managers and executives from a trio of local companies to share their experiences about working with Dell. This includes CNQC (South Pacific) Holding, a construction main contractor and property developer; hosting provider 8 to Infinity; and supply chain management and logistics provider YCH. 

    The usual key technologies were mentioned, ranging from virtualization, infrastructure consolidation and upgrading of network. This may entail the deployment of new networking gear, storage arrays and, of course, new servers. The responsiveness and customer experience of Dell was brought up as their decision to go with the company — in spite of the availability of similar solutions on the market.

    “The challenge is not the product, but the customer service of all these devices in the market,” said Ihab Al-Wazani, who is the director of solutions and technology enablement of YCH.

    One downside that comes to mind though, would be the inherent risks of relying completely on a single vendor, no matter how well established. However, the prospect of putting all ones’ eggs into a basket doesn’t appear to be a major concern with this group of SMBs. Indeed, the ability to access a range of expertise from server hardware, network and integration appears to be the deal clincher here.

    Dell Solution Centers

    So focused is the company on reaching out to SMBs that it has opened up 11 Dell Solution Centers around the world, which are dedicated technical labs equipped with the space and tools for technical managers and decision makers to validate the right solution before even spending a cent. A 12th Solution Center is expected to come online soon.

    Finally, Dell has also been carefully acquiring specialist IT vendors over the past few years to strengthen its offerings. Acquisitions include Exanet, Force10, KACE Networks, SecureWorks, SonicWall and Perot Systems. They give Dell an impressive portfolio of competency in the data center that extends from basic building blocks such as core networking to storage, as well as expertise in security management and information security.

    Put together, Dell presents a compelling argument that it can add tremendous value to SMBs that are looking to expand, or businesses with smaller IT departments. Moreover, even mid-sized businesses may benefit as IT staffers are freed up to focus on innovations that improve the bottom line.

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