Dell expands Canadian services division

Dell Inc. Tuesday launched professional and managed services divisions in Canada, a move that it hopes will boost a services business here that’s growing by 40 per cent each year.

Don Kerr, director of Canadian service sales

in Toronto, describes services as the “”fastest growing business in Canada,”” expanding at two times Dell’s hardware business.

Dell professional services offers services and consulting expertise in infrastructure, server and storage migration and consolidation, training, and certification. Dell managed services provides standardized service capabilities with service management expertise.

One customer that turned to Dell Canada last year when it was looking for a new service provider was the Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres in Toronto, whose 42 community care facilities determine patient eligibility for at-home health services, among other things.

Perry Doody, director of finance and information, said the association began a search for a vendor of record to handle base technologies, including more than 200 servers, 300 switches and 500 printers that were previously being handled by HP.

“”Dell scored highest,”” Doody said. “”Price was a consideration.”” Switching to Dell, in fact, allowed “”35 per cent to 40 per cent (of savings) to be redirected to other initiatives”” in IT services.

Another “”big piece of this was 42 CCACs (community care access centres) located across Ontario got the same service,”” Doody said. He said it’s important the centres have the same machines with the same configuration because “”as new applications come in, we know everyone is equipped to handle them.””

He said Dell was also able to offer products the association didn’t have, such as a Web-based procurement process allowing for the ordering of equipment online.

“”The scope of the initial refresh was challenging at first (because) . . . with every vendor there’s some degree of uncertainty,”” Doody said. But, he said, the Ministry of Health’s IT staff eased that pain by providing support throughout the process.

Services, including applications, migration and consolidation of systems, and training and certification, are moving towards modernization or standardization just as products like hardware, explained Gary Cotshott, vice-president and general manager, Dell Services.

In particular, Cotshott said, “”customers are excited”” about Dell’s migration and consolidation services because it allows them to move to industry-shared platforms from proprietary environments and save money as a result.

Cotshott said customers can pick and choose Dell Canada’s service offerings or allow Dell to take a more prominent role managing pieces of their technology business, such as support, procurement or refreshing old systems.

The “”secret sauce”” of the Dell’s services recipe is the adoption of the computer manufacturer’s traditional direct model in hardware sales, something customers have asked for, Cotshott explained.

He said the direct-to-order paradigm is the “”most efficient path to a customer”” by giving Dell a better understanding and knowledge of its business and providing customers with “”fast access to the right resources.””

Dell’s services division, which generates an annual US$3 billion in revenues each year, employs more than 30,000 technical field workers in 170 countries and 8,500 service personnel worldwide.

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