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Dell Expands Support Services For Business

The premium service is available to a broader set of customers than Dell's previous premium service, which required a minimum of 200 servers. Platinum Plus will require only 100 servers.
Dell's enterprise services business has become one its biggest recent success stories and fastest growing business units. On Wednesday, the computer maker will expand its services to provide a higher level of support for server and storage system customers.

The Platinum Plus service provides new productivity tools and is the result of more than $200 million Dell has invested in service and support over the past few years, says Steve Meyer, VP of services. "Companies are paying too much for too little industrywide," he says. "Platinum Plus represents very simply our best enterprise service ever. This service is more reliable, more broadly available, and provides greater levels of support, faster support, and a more personalized engagement."

Growing at a rate of 30% a year, Dell's services business now generates annual revenues of $5 billion and represents nearly 10% of all Dell revenue. It was about 18 months ago that Dell surpassed the $1 billion annual run rate for the first time.

Platinum Plus, which will replace Dell's existing Platinum service offering, includes operations performance benchmarking. The feature allows customers to compare their IT performance metrics to historical results from similarly configured environments. The new offering will allow IT managers to cross-check their performance in various locations against case activity rates and the time needed to resolve issues.

Also new is an enterprise command center real-time tracking window, which is a Web-enabled feature to provide customers with a virtual command center to follow ongoing support activities. The feature utilizes Google Earth Pro to create an interactive 3-D display. With the tracking window, customers can view the real-time status of open service dispatches in global locations without picking up the phone, Meyer says.

Other features of Platinum Plus include continuous hardware warranty support, software troubleshooting, and access to Dell's enterprise expert center. The service provides users with a technical account manager and assistance with emergency dispatch on critical situation processes.

Among the investments Dell has made in its services division is the hiring of thousands of technical experts to assist customers, the opening of five global enterprise command centers, and the opening of 15 enterprise expert centers.

Dell is making Platinum Plus available to a broader set of customers than its previous premium service offering. The prior offering required a minimum of 200 servers under management, but Platinum Plus will require only 100 servers.

"We are finding that more and more customers are running more and more mission-critical applications on x86-based products," Meyer says. "As a result, they need higher level of sophistication in support to keep those systems operating at required levels. We think Platinum Plus can start to make those environments less of a cost center and more of a competitive advantage."