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Dell Opens Service Center In China

The sophisticated services center reflects China's growing importance in the IT industry and in the world business community.
Dell says it has a solution for multinational customers that need faster response times for IT service calls in China. The company revealed the opening of its first Enterprise Command Center in the People's Republic.

From the center, in the southern Chinese coastal town of Xiamen, Dell staffers can monitor local conditions such as traffic and weather and coordinate logistics accordingly. Dell officials say the center will help the company and its customers overcome China's notoriously poor transportation infrastructure.

"Logistics [in China] can be extremely challenging if you don't take a proactive approach," says Stephen Meyer, VP for marketing in Dell's services organization.

Staffers at the center can respond to storms, traffic delays and other unplanned events and can reroute or preposition technicians and parts to ensure that customer-service calls aren't disrupted.

IDC analyst John McArthur says Dell's capability could provide a "key element" of protection for the growing number of businesses that are locating critical IT infrastructure in China as direct foreign investment in the country grows at a double-digit pace.

Dell opened a similar center at its U.S headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, in November and says its use has resulted in a 25% improvement in service-response times. Most recently, the U.S. center was used to ensure that Dell could meet service obligations in Florida despite the impact of Hurricane Frances.

Dell says it plans to open Enterprise Command Centers in Europe and Japan this year and another in the Asia-Pacific region early next year.

Meyer says the centers are part of a larger effort by Dell to lower service costs through a mix of a technological and process improvements. The effort is yielding results across Dell's services organization, he says. For instance, Dell staffers can perform a standard enterprise SAN deployment in about two days at a cost of about $9,000. Two years ago, the same work took about eight days at a price of about $11,000. "We're trying to commoditize parts of the services model in the same way we have done with hardware," Meyer says.

Dell's annual revenue from services stands at about $3 billion, Meyer says, and is the company's fastest-growing offering.

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