Stewart van Graan, DellStewart van Graan, Dell

Dell has been moving away from its PC company image with services

“DELL is, as I think you’ve seen in the media, transforming from just a PC company into a solutions company,” says Douglas Schmitt, VP and GM of Dell’s Global Support and Deployment (GSD) division.

This services focus has been affecting Dell for the past few years, and the company made a number of acquisitions in 2012 alone.

, MD of Dell South Africa, says: “We’ve had a number of acquisitions over the last couple of years that have rounded out our capability. Not only on the services side.” mentions storage companies Compellent and EqualLogic, and the networking company Force10. “All of these come along with expanded services that are basically data centre class services.”


“The timing is right,” says Schmitt.

Douglas Schmitt, DellDouglas Schmitt, Dell

“When we started making the purchases, we were always headed towards helping our customers in the larger fashion because that’s what they were asking us to do.”

According to Schmitt, Dell’s services arm has four divisions: , applications and BPO, infrastructure and cloud, and GSD.

“Our team (GSD) is approximately 10 000 direct employees, and we have another 20 000 indirect employees, or folks we use to partner with to help us deliver service every day. We’re in over 120 countries globally,” says Schmitt.

Schmitt says in Q2 2012, services and solutions were the fastest growing areas within Dell.

According to Dell, the services business “grew 3% to $2.1 billion, driven by 7% growth in support and deployment, and 35% growth in ”.


One of the biggest trends affecting the services arena, says Schmitt, is the consumerisation of IT. For companies, an increase in mobility means more devices. “And that puts pressure on everyone to not only handle all of those devices, but manage them in a secure environment.”

He says customers requested an overall solution to manage the consumerisation of IT/bring-your-own-device situation, “because you can’t just have that and have the great services with it and not have a secure environment”.


In SA, the demand is similar to the rest of the world, says Schmitt. “In SA, we have some of the highest GSD premium services attach rates. Actually, they are in the top three globally for having attach rates for these premium services. So that just goes to show you that the South African business environment is asking for and needing these high-end services that we’re providing.”

Van Graan adds: “We’re part of the leading edge of wanting the same services that I think they want around the world.” He says the difference for local companies is that many of them are expanding up into Africa. “We want to be there,” says Van Graan, “and meet them with the same types of services as they enjoy in South Africa.”

Services needs differ, however, says Schmitt. “A lot of our customers would like to carry in their device to a repair shop, and have it repaired at that time or, in some cases, maybe leave it over night and back the next day.” Many also prefer one-on-one interaction, which is why Dell is building up its walk-in repair centres. “Different markets require different types of services,” he says.

Dell plans to use its Johannesburg offices to leverage its own foray into Africa, Schmitt says. Dell currently has direct support presence in Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, SA, Angola, Kenya and Tanzania, and over next 18 months, the company will expand into Algeria, Tunisia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Botswana and Namibia.

“There’s just a great deal of opportunity and it is a key focus for the company,” says Schmitt.