Dell cuts take-away repairs

On-site service the only option for SMBs

Dell has scrapped its return-to-base warranty services in favour of on-premises support.

The services were culled in line with reductions that saw 19 varieties of SMB service warranties cut to three.

Dell SMB division services business manager Kush Naidu said few customers subscribed to return-to-base servicing — where hardware is packaged and shipped off for inspection — because downtime can last days and problems can persist.

“A customer could spend 4 hours packing up, shipping, waiting three days and reinstalling a machine and it may not still run.... it could be a network cable or something else that is the problem,” Naidu said.

“With [on-premises] servicing, the part is delivered and an engineer comes and stays on-site until the problem is fixed.”

Nadiu, who has worked for Dell for 11 years, said the recession will see growth in managed service support. He said Dell's local servicing represents about 7 percent of SMB division revenue, and about 17 percent of enterprise revenue.

“In my opinion, the economic downturn will increase growth in service support,” Nadiu said, adding that IT managers will face increased workloads if their businesses cut-back on IT staff.

It could cost up to $600 for an average one-off service for a server, he said.

About half of service calls are how-to configuration requests, of which a “large amount” pertain to configuration of Microsoft Vista, Office, and wireless networks, which take twice as long to resolve as other support requests. Naidu said while these calls must relate to a covered Dell product, they are “flexible” and will remain on the call until the problem is resolved.

An April survey of 203 SMB IT decision-makers across Australia and New Zealand, sponsored by Dell, found less than half of respondents were concerned with “keeping up with current trends”. Nadiu said many businesses are choosing to “sit tight” and maintain existing infrastructure during the recession.

Most respondents want IT to improve efficiency and increase productivity this year, and reduce overheads and cut costs.

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