Dell overhauls support services

The company will introduce two services aimed at improving local support for enterprise customers by improving turnaround times.

Dell is revamping its support-services offering as the company continues to battle shrinking growth in PC and server sales.

The overhaul will see the introduction of two services, Dell ProSupport for IT and ProSupport for End-Users, aimed at improving local support for enterprise customers by improving turnaround times and offering the ability to fast-track requests.

With ProSupport for IT, for example, IT personnel at customer sites will be able to directly access the relevant support staff rather than pick their way through Dell's support escalation process. Non-IT end users, meanwhile, will be able to access application and configuration assistance for their machines.

Dell would not clarify the number of people it has employed for the revamped service. Brian Goff, Dell Australia's enterprise technical manager, said only that there are "more staff than last year," citing the company's upcoming profit report on February 28 as a reason for holding back the details. The company is currently recruiting technical staff to fill vacant roles.

For customers already on Dell's Gold Technical Support package, the extra benefits under ProSupport will be offered at no extra charge, according to Goff.

The new service offering comes at a time when Dell is fighting to retain its market share of PC and server sales worldwide. Some analysts have suggested the new support offering may help Dell combat falling sales in what is becoming an increasingly commoditized market.

"Services is a big part of IT. Hardware is increasingly underappreciated, so it comes down to other factors like price or services," Intelligent Businsess Research Services analyst Kevin McIsaac told ZDNet Australia.

The company is also attempting to redefine itself in other ways. Dell recently acquired hosted e-mail archiving and security company MessageOne for $155 million. But perhaps its most significant move was the $1.4 billion acquisition of EqualLogic, a player in the nascent iSCSI storage market, repositioning the PC maker as an owner of storage IP for the first time, rather than simply a reseller.

Liam Tung of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

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