Dell Reveals Internet "Self-Service" Products - InformationWeek

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Dell Reveals Internet "Self-Service" Products

Michael Dell revealed today how the Internet will make life easier for corporate PC buyers. Speaking at Dell's DirectConnect Conference in Austin, Texas, Dell unveiled Internet-based software tools that will make it easy for customers to monitor and repair system problems and provide integration across all the departments involved in the procurement process.

"The Internet is a weapon sitting on a table, and the only difference between traditional companies and the dot-com companies will be winners and losers," Dell said. To win, Dell says companies must improve responsiveness, efficiency, and the overall customer experience. "E-customers remain loyal because of the buying experience more than factors like product and cost."

By year's end, Dell expects to ship the remote diagnostics and ERP integration. Dell's Open Manage Resolution Assistant will help companies diagnose and repair outages online, as Dell support runs a program detailing the customer's configuration and data, which customers will have supplied to Dell in advance.

The ERP integration, called Direct Commerce Integration, will link customer procurement of Dell products with the entire procurement process of the customer. First, such integration will happen using SAP R/3 business-to-business software, so customers can have one view of all the accounting and logistics involved with Dell purchases.

Dell needs to provide such services over the Internet, says Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group, because it has had difficulty hiring people with the necessary expertise; the company says it manages by recruiting new graduates. "They're not losing any customers yet," says Enderle, "but they're starting to tick them off."

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