Dell expands SME desktop services

Dell has introduced a new suite of desktop support services for small and medium sized businesses designed for companies with...

Dell has introduced a new suite of desktop support services for small and medium sized businesses designed for companies with overstretched IT staff.

The PC Workspace Services suite includes asset tracking, a support web portal and on-site visits from field technicians, as well as around-the-clock help desk functions, such as remote support and routing of calls.

Dell had previously provided some of the services included in this suite but not as part of a single programme. Some of the tasks Dell performs as part of the PC Workspace Services are installation, repairs, moving users to new locations, and software support.

PC Workspace Services is the latest programme in Dell's portfolio of desktop services for SMEs. Existing Dell services for SMEs include factory integration of systems, system deployment and installation, system recovery and system discarding, training and asset management.

The menu of services can be customised based on a client's needs and can cost as little as around $20 (£11) per desktop per month for a basic offering that includes the around-the-clock help desk support, said Dell. Financing is available from Dell Financial Services.

The services cover multi-vendor, heterogeneous desktop environments and is targeted primarily at Windows-based desktop environments.

Although Dell expects many buyers of PC Workspace Services to be existing Dell users, customers do not have to own Dell products to sign up for the programme which is available now in the US, the company said.

With this programme, Dell is aiming for SME IT departments that are struggling with desktop support and would benefit from delegating those tasks to a services provider so that they can focus on IT tasks that are more sophisticated and important to their business.

SME desktop services is a segment typically dominated by regional value added resellers (VARs) or system integrators, because they provide customised, personalised services to clients, said Andrew Efstathiou, a Yankee Group analyst.

"These regional VARs and integrators typically do a lot of repeat business with those clients, so from job to job they begin to build up an understanding of what the [clients'] business is about," he said.

It is critical for companies selling these kinds of services to focus on customers' individual, specific needs and craft a unique services offering, Efstathiou said.

Something else SME IT departments require is help with specific, narrow technologies their staff may not be versed in, Efstathiou said.

"A big need is specialisation and expertise on certain technologies that do not justify the hiring of a staffer [to focus on them] but still are critical to the success of the business," he said.

Finally, SMEs also look for an IT services provider that can be a single point of contact and provide one-stop shopping for their services needs, Efstathiou said.

Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service

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