Dell has cut the ribbon on its first Australian Solution Centre, its tenth worldwide proof of concept centre designed to allow customers to try before they buy.
The centre, located in Sydney’s Frenchs Forest - Dell’s fourth in the Asia Pacific - forms part of a global network of technical labs working with clients on testing solutions before purchase.
They offer technical solution briefings, demonstrations, design sessions and deployments through proof-of-concept engagements that can run anywhere between half a day and two weeks. Future and current clients are encouraged to bring in proprietary hardware and work with Dell staff to trial potential solutions.
The labs utilise technology by several of Dell’s partners, including Citrix, VMware, Oracle and key partner Microsoft. Dell has included a Microsoft Lync 'centre of excellence' for unified communications in its Sydney Solution Centre.
Microsoft’s partner group and SMB director Evan Williams said the Lync centre was built in response to strong customer demand.
“Lync is the Xbox for enterprise customers,” he said. “The ability in one single interface to have communications and collaboration is driving huge benefits for customers, and we get a similar reaction to customers walking into a store to buy an Xbox, with that look of excitement."
Technology operating in the Solution Centre is live and connected to the global centre network. Dell Australia managing director Joe Kremer said customers get the opportunity to experience the technology first hand.
“The solution stack is not just PCs or servers, but a management stack on top of the hardware platform; EqualLogic, Compellent storage, disaster recovery and back up, and networking,” he said. “The key is for customers to see how everything works.”
Getting partners involved
Kremer said Dell wants to push more sales through partners, and is encouraging its channel to approach the Solution Centre as if it is their own.
“Our channel partners are very excited,” he said. “We are more keen to expand our channel business, so where there is an opportunity to funnel business through our partners we will.”
Dell has chalked up three new client wins in the two months since the Sydney centre has been in operation. A spokesperson told CRN one win came through a partner but declined to comment further.
Kremer said another centre may be on the cards as a result of “lots of demand”. Currently almost half of Dell’s global Solution Centres are located in the Asia Pacific.
Today's announcement forms part of Dell's ongoing efforts to transform itself from a traditional PC maker to a solutions provider, and follows a number of acquisitions including security vendor SonicWall, legacy modernisation specialists Make Technologies, Clerity Solutions and cloud vendor Wyse Technology.
Dell’s global president of services solutions group Steve Shuckenbrock said Dell was responding to the IT industry's redefining of the word ‘solutions’.
"These centres have proved to be very important to us,” Shuckenbrock said. “Hundreds and hundreds of customers want to come play in the sandbox.”
“Dell is not the PC company it once was.”
Early this month Dell announced a worldwide investment of $1USbillion into its solutions and services business. It declined to provide details on the financial cost of each Solution Centre.