Services boost for Dell Ireland

8 Sep 2004

UPDATE: Dell has picked Limerick as a location for the newly established EMEA Enterprise Command Centre (ECC). The new ECC, which will be operational in November, will provide round-the-clock support for Dell server and storage customers in EMEA. It will also be a single point of accountability for Dell’s global customers based in the region.

The company has also made two other changes to its services business in Ireland: the availability of its most advanced level of enterprise support services, Platinum Enterprise Service, at the company’s EMEA Enterprise Centre in Cherrywood, Co Dublin and the expansion of its Limerick-based EMEA Application Solutions Centre.

The computer maker gave no details about the level of investment being commitment or whether any new jobs would be created. “It’s a relatively small number of people but it’s not about the people, it’s the type of work that they do,” commented Tom Kitt, EMEA services director with Dell, who spoke at the launch.

The EMEA Command Centre will provide real-time tracking of customer issues, technicians and service parts. Essentially a backup and disaster recovery facility, the centre will also leverage live weather and news feeds to identify and mitigate any potential delays in customer service as quickly as possible. This centralised base of operation enables Dell’s technical support personnel to track and manage service delivery from beginning to end while helping to reduce reaction time and customer down-time during critical situations.

The computer maker chose to locate the ECC at its Limerick manufacturing facility because parts, procurement, management and planning takes place from there and the service was seen as complementary to those elements. “For a service like this it’s very important to be close to people who have the hardware parts,” said Kitt.

“We’re basically responding to a customer need,” he added. “In the past, it’s fair to say we would have had a reactive approach but this centre will allow us to help customers protect their data and keep them up and running, proactively.”

The ECC launch in Limerick is the third for Dell worldwide and is part of the company’s integrated plan to introduce the ECC in other key markets. Since the ECC began operations in the US last November, operational efficiency of Dell services has increased by nearly 25pc.

Dell’s EMEA Applications Solutions Centre (ASC), a pre-sales facility that allows customers to test-drive complex solutions prior to purchase, is to double existing capacity. The lab is used to simulate a variety of real-world issues such as business continuity planning, scalability testing, capacity planning, performance tuning, and application transition analysis.

Customers that have used the ASC lab to date include Adelaide and Meath Hospital and The University of Liverpool. The lab has also worked with EMC, BT Esat and Nortel to develop and test a business continuity solution between Dell Limerick and EMC in Cork, whereby customers can fully test their disaster recovery solutions.

Anthony Quigney, EMEA ASC manager, said that the facility would allow large customers to see how a new piece of software would work in a “safe” production environment that mirrored their own IT infrastructure. “We can simulate multiple sites with thousands of users and applications such as Oracle or mission-critical email. We can monitor and see how all these systems are going to behave. How it performs here in the facility is how it is going to perform in the real world.”

Platinum Enterprise Services provide customers with support from a designated technical account manager using ongoing reporting that is designed to highlight any problems with the customer’s IT system (servers and storage only). Platinum also incorporates added expert advice from Dell’s most senior engineers and a single point of contact for all enterprise-class systems issues. “A Platinum customer is one that wants to reduce total cost of ownership and wants a support team familiar with their computing environment, who knows their setup, structure, network and hardware needs,” explained Kitt. Dell already has Platinum support agreements with several customers in Ireland and elsewhere around Europe.

By Brian Skelly and Gordon Smith