Dell offers migration services to Canadian clients

Dell on Tuesday said it would begin providing Canadian customers software packaged with services that aim to automate mass migration and system deployments—and give IBM’s formidable Global Services a run for its money.

Kevin Hanes, a senior manager with Dell’s global program management organization, said that the software—geared toward enterprises with 2,500 seats and up—will utilize Dell Automated Deployment features to centrally run mass deployments in the enterprise. The software and services are now available in Canada, along with the States and Europe.

“This is particularly important with Vista, where planning and design are key,” said Hanes. He said that the new Dell offering wasn’t launched deliberately in tandem with the impending yanking of Windows XP sales, however.

Michelle Warren, a senior research analyst with the London, Ontario-based Info-Tech Research Group, said that Windows Vista will see more and more implementations over 2008 and into 2009, making this a lucrative market for Dell. She said, “If you’re doing a hardware upgrade, implementing Vista at the same time probably works well for them.”

Said Hanes: “We found that customers loved automating these tasks, but they had basic hurdles to overcome. They lagged behind the innovation. It’s no good trying to deploy it if the applications aren’t in a state for an automatic install, or they don’t know which end-users get what applications.”

So the key part of the release is the solution’s focus on the accompanying services. Hanes said that Dell will work with companies to design and plan the implementation, and plot a business case to sell it to execs. An initial assessment of the current baseline and the best practices in place is another option available with the solution.

“There is a need for customers putting their outsourcing into the hands of those that they trust,” Warren said. “But also, by providing an overall solution for their business customers does deflect a little away from the ‘Dell PC’ to the ‘Dell solution,’ which is the way of the industry right now.” This has been the company’s focus for the last two years, and will only increase as times goes on, she said.

Due to the different software and service portions of the solution, there are different pricing structures. According to Hanes, factors affecting price points include how distanced the systems are, the geographical location, the customer’s level of IT sophistication, the number of systems, and whether, when it comes to a system migration, whether Windows Vista is involved. “You can’t just go to the Web and find out if programs are compatible, as most of (the issues) reside in the package layer. It also depends on the security policies in Vista,” he said.

An average implementation for 10,000 users with an average level of IT sophistication would cost between $500,000 and $1-million, said Hanes, resulting in a cost of $100 to $500 implementation cost per head, down from $500 to $600 (although there are, of course, other costs involved on the company side that could raise the implementation figure).

A 2007 Dell-sponsored whitepaper from research group IDC found that the program can reduce migration costs by up to 62 per cent. Hanes said that these cost savings are one of the factors that set Dell apart from service competitors like IBM Global Services. “One key piece is the application that automates this process. We focus on that a little more than what I’ve seen others doing,” said Hanes.

Warren thinks that Dell might actually have a small edge over IBM due to the fact that Dell can peddle its own products, while IBM shills for Lenovo when it comes to hardware.

Hanes said that the recent layoffs at Dell’s Edmonton and Ottawa call centres won’t affect the new service campaign for the Dell Client Migration Solution, either. “I don’t think they’re connected,” he said.

And, said Warren, the steady stream of Vista implementations in Canada could result in Dell having to actually bulk up its support staff to deal with the demand.

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