Dell and Microsoft open customer centre in Vancouver

VANCOUVER — Dell Canada and Microsoft Canada Tuesday opened the doors of a West Coast customer technology intended to help businesses in B.C.’s Lower Mainland develop,

test and implement IT solutions.

Sandi Sandiland, a Markham, Ont.-based business development manager with Dell Computer Corp., said customers in British Columbia want to do business in British Columbia.

“”The new centre in Vancouver gives them the opportunity to work locally, which is important to people on the West Coast,”” Sandiland said. “”It is also highly cost-effective for them.””

Powered by Dell PowerEdge servers and Dell PowerVault storage systems, the CTC will enable customers in B.C. to see how the hardware and software work together before they make a purchase. According to Dell and Microsoft, this will enable their customers to make better informed purchases. The centre also provides users with resources that help minimize the risks and costs associated with designing, developing and deploying new systems.

“”There are definite risks involved for organizations when they migrate from one platform to another,”” said Derick Wong, Mississauga, Ont.-based senior product manager with Microsoft Canada. “”And, in addition, networks are becoming more complex all the time. The centre will allow Dell, Microsoft and our customers to test new hardware and software first to see how it all works together and whether it’s the best solution for them.””

IT organizations want to “”go from just sustaining mode to value-added mode,”” said Bryan Rusche, Markham, Ont.-based server product manager with Dell Canada Inc.

“”They have two pain points today: Systems management and hardware utilization,”” Rusche said. “”We want to increase hardware utilization from about 15 per cent today to more than 50 per cent.””

Rusche said Dell and Microsoft also want to enable cost-effective scaling so that B.C.-based IT organizations can plan several years in advance where they want to go and how to get there.

Wong said Microsoft Canada has operated a technology business centre in Mississauga “”for a couple of years,”” where it partners with Dell Canada and other hardware vendors.

“”The centre has been very successful, especially for larger corporate customers,”” Wong said. In 2003, approximately 4,500 people used the Mississauga facility.

Rusche said Dell Canada has operated a similar executive briefing centre in Markham “”for more than a year.””

Rusche and Wong said Vancouver was selected as the site of the Western Canada CTC because both organizations wanted to put their resources where their customers are located. They said Dell and Microsoft might replicate the Vancouver CTC in other regional centres in Canada, depending on the success of the Vancouver operation.

“”The pain points are common to different size enterprises and different verticals across the country,”” Rusche said.

Brodie Desiomne, a Microsoft technical specialist in the Vancouver office, is responsible for managing the CTC. Sessions can be booked through Dell and Microsoft account managers in Vancouver.

The Vancouver facility holds 50 people at a time. Wong said Dell and Microsoft expect about 5,000 people a year to use the centre.


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