Users voice concern over Dell expansion

Some of Dell's major UK customers are concerned that they may suffer as the hardware shifts focus to expand into new product...

Some of Dell's major UK customers are concerned that  they may suffer as the hardware shifts focus to expand into new product areas.

One UK user at Dell's Enterprise show in New York this week said, "As they move out of what is their core business of selling PCs, laptops and servers into other areas such as personal digital assistants and services, will there be a loss of focus on what has been their core business?"

His organisation has been using Dell servers for many years. Another major Dell user said, "There is potential for Dell to take its eye off its main game.

"At the moment we get a lot of care from our Dell server account manager and I would be fearful [of the consequences] if the company redeployed a lot of their staff to new ventures."

Dell announced plans last September to double its services revenue in the corporate sector and this year has rolled out its own brand handhelds and printers.

Speaking at the conference, Paul Bell, Dell's European president, sought to allay users’ fears that these moves would hit customer service.

“I can re-emphasise that there is a team directly accountable to the customer based at Dell,” he said.

“Our top priority is servers, storage and services - these enterprise-class products are still our core offerings,” he added.

Bell said Dell has 1,300 people in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, who solely provide technical support services to customers, while its partners have thousands of additional technicians.

He added that Dell closely monitored its customers' experience and expectations. “We do structured surveys above and beyond general customer feedback to enable us to improve our operation.”

Tony Lock, chief analyst at Bloor Research, thought Dell could maintain customer service levels while diversifying. "I wouldn't be too concerned because Dell clearly know where their bread and butter comes from," he told Computer Weekly.

"They have focused more on servers in the last few years and have done a good job at making themselves a force to be reckoned with."

Chief executive officer Michael Dell attributed the company's growth to servers, storage and services. For the quarter ending 31 January, Dell reported shipments of PowerEdge servers up 28% and revenue from external storage systems up 87%.

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