Dell drives SMB and services

Dell is looking at ways to further enhance its after-sales service and support model in the Middle East. With the SMB sector a strategic focus in 2005, Dell is also assessing exactly what this requires in terms of developing its indirect channel model.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  March 13, 2005

Dell is looking at ways to further enhance its after-sales service and support model in the Middle East. With the small and medium business (SMB) sector a strategic focus in 2005, Dell is also assessing exactly what this requires in terms of developing its indirect channel model. “We view the SMB as one of the biggest growth opportunities,” confirmed Andy Scopes, Dell distribution services manager for EMEA. “All of the market research supports this. The question now is do we have the right model to approach this market from both a sales and support perspective.” Any emphasis on driving SMB sales in the Middle East could also involve the recruitment of more second tier resellers. At present, IT hardware powerhouse Dell sells through a limited number of partners in the region, many of whom are predominantly focused on selling into large accounts. “It’s horses for courses,” explained Scopes. “Unlike some of our competitors Dell does not have thousands of resellers. We currently have a few in-country that we segment and generally aim at the top-end of the market. What we don’t have in any great number at present is SMB-focused partners.” As the market grows Dell is also looking to drive economies of scale into its service delivery model in the Middle East. In the SMB and retail sector, the vendor is looking at the potential for appointing partners able to provide an underpinning service delivery mechanism for multiple resellers. “When you look at the corporate and government space, which is the primary focus of many of our existing partners, it is fine to have these partners supporting their own customer base,” said Scopes. “When you start to move into the SMB, where the scale of the services operation becomes quite significant, maybe we should look at a single non-conflict partner — by that I mean someone that is not selling the product and is only focused on providing the service and support function.” Dell has already discussed with partners the possibility of appointing a partner to provide a generic support service across the region that allows them to maintain their focus on sales and outsource the service requirement to a third party. Scopes is also looking to drive even greater efficiency into Dell’s enterprise post-sales service and support model in the Middle East. One improvement already planned is the deployment of logistics management software among its distribution partners to provide them with greater visibility regarding spare parts availability in the region. For those resellers still wary of Dell’s long-term commitment to an indirect sales model in the region, Scopes has a clear message: “I can say hand on heart that there are no plans to switch to a direct model in the Gulf for at least five years. The indirect model works extremely well for us and we will look to enhance it even further because it is producing very good results for Dell.”

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