Dell’s Canadian president met with the direct computing giant’s senior management Wednesday to discuss how to improve performance in the enterprise space.

In a conference call with media and analysts, Dell bragged that its efforts

to recast itself as an enterprise player were succeeding, citing a 40 per cent increase in server shipments in first quarter of this year. The firm sold more servers in the United States than any other company, said Joe Marengi, Dell’s senior vice president of the Americas. Also on Wednesday, Dell announced a contract win with Eastman Chemical, which it will supply with 14,000 notebooks and laptops in locations across 30 countries.

“”Dell’s already there; Dell is an enterprise company,”” he said.

In Canada, however, Dell’s server share remains dwarfed by companies like IBM, which commands 40 per cent of the market according to IDC Canada, and HP, which holds 30 per cent. Marengi admitted that outside of the U.S., Dell has a lot of catching up to do. He said he had spoken with Dell Canada president Lawrence Pentland, who was visiting the corporate headquarters Wednesday.

“”We spent some time with Lawrence,”” he said. “”It’s one of those things of just continuing to get execution inside a lot of major institutions and corporations in the Canadian marketplace. I mean, IBM had a significant head start up there with entrenchment in a lot of the banking community.””

Dell has made headway in Canada, said IDC Canada hardware analyst Alan Freedman. The company’s 10 per cent share of the Canadian server market in 2002, for example, is up from eight per cent a year earlier.

“”When they first went into servers they were just thought of as the cheap ones,”” he said. “”If you had something that’s not very important you could put it on a Dell. But now they’re moving into the enterprise, the database, and although they’re one of the smaller ones, they’re in the enterprise now.””

In January, Dell launched a professional services network composed of partners employing 30,000 people and 8,000 Dell employees in 170 countries to complement its hardware products. These services include professional services (including application development, consolidation and Internet business); deployment (custom delivery, installation, asset management); support (software, hardware, same day); and training/certification.

“”It’s up to us to do blocking and tackling, if necessary,”” Marengi said. “”We’ve got the products, we’ve got the service capabilities, we’ve got the selling and account management skills . . . Dell Canada is No. 1 in the Intel space in Canada, but we do have a ways to grow still in servers and storage. We review that with them every single week.””

Dell is trying to market its enterprise capabilities more aggressively to counter the messages of its rivals, Marengi added.

“”You look at companies we compete with — they’re constantly speaking about proprietary Unix as the only real enterprise product, whether it’s the old mainframe or whatever. Sun, HP and IBM all sell that,”” he said. “”This is just more of a recognition around the fact that the enterprise itself is transitioning through standardization and commoditization of both services and product, where Dell is strongest.””

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