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back to article Dell staffers react to news of 1-in-3 axe dangling overhead

Our readers at Dell have responded to the New Year Dell redundancy stories. They make worrying reading, illustrating the pressures people are under. Here’s a comment from a Dell Asia Pacific Japan staffer: In APJ no one knows what the new org is or what is happening to their roles. We are all guessing or we can try for VR ( …

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Fatboy Dell

Back in the day when I bought Dells, back when Dell were successful, I never spoke to a salesman. I just called up the website, configured the PC, paid the money and waited for it to be delivered.

Do they really need so many sales people? Don't they rather need better products, that people want to buy, at a price that they can afford, with better-than-average support. All through a website.

Who needs a salesman? Unless your products are so bad you need to pay someone to lie about them?

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Re: Fatboy Dell

The joy of Dell - as opposed to HP/IBM - you checked out the specs on the website, ordered the machine on the website, it arrived.

Then we got a bit bigger and we got a sales number to call in Ireland. If you missed the deadline on a deal, or you wanted a slightly different config they would 'help you out'

Then we got big enough to be a "preferred customer" and had to deal with Dell salesdroids.

If you wanted a machine you had to call your particular salesman and leave a message, hoping he would get back to you to "discuss a quote". The quote was always more than the web price and then when you finally ordered the machine and got the invoice they had always added a few extras like MS-Office or a printer.

Dell - when your preferred customers are ordering stuff on your website with their personal credit cards to avoid dealing with your sales team - it's time for a rethink

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Re: Fatboy Dell

Actually, "sales engineers" are often required for a few reasons.

A) Dispelling myths about technologies held by sysadmins whose knowledge hasn't kept up with the evolving technology

B) Helping design solutions that meet the needs of a given business

C) Helping craft transitions between extant product sets and the new stuff

We have reached a point where no human brain can contain all knowledge required to know every single feature, option, configuration and artifact of VMware, let alone the whole of our industry. A properly designed sales team is a charismatic fellow (the closer) who can talk dollars and cents backed up by a small fleet of domain experts (the sales engineers) who can talk shop and know their tech inside and out.

This is how you design and build a proper IT sales team, especially for enterprise.

If you, personally, know enough to know exactly what you need...great. A lot of folks don't, even if they are great sysadmins or engineers. There's just too much out there to know the quirks of it all, it's all evolving...and everyone is evolving in different directions at the same time.

Dell needs to be more than "NewEgg for Enterprises." I think Dell (the man) recognized that. That's what this corporate bloodbath is all about.

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Re: Fatboy Dell

Yes if you are equipping an entire data center or a school or a new office - then you need help.

But if you choose the supplier's sales team as your source of help for exactly what you need to buy - then you probably have bigger problems than even Dell have

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Anonymous Coward

Another CEO who sees people as a commodity to be used and discarded. Not to worry, there will be lovely bonus payments, health care plans and share options for them.

Oh and not forgetting the golden Handshake when they leave.

In the meantime the staff have to grin and bear it .

When will management understand that a business is made up of people not beads on an abacus.

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Re: Fatboy Dell

>A) Dispelling myths about technologies held by sysadmins whose knowledge hasn't kept up with the evolving technology

>B) Helping design solutions that meet the needs of a given business

>C) Helping craft transitions between extant product sets and the new stuff

Upsell upsell upsell.

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Re: Fatboy Dell

No, it doesn't have anything to do with upselling...at least not if it's done honestly and properly. A good example is something as simple as "power over Ethernet."

Way back in the day, I had some PoE equipment installed that fried a bunch of badly designed older hardware as soon as the cable was plugged in. This was in the early days of PoE stuff and a lot of widgetry was not constructed to be able to cope with it. I have been wary of PoE ever since.

Today, virtually all equipment you could find should coexist just fine with PoE, and modern PoE stuff should be able to detect if there's a non-PoE device on the other end and simply not send voltage. A really bad salesman came to visit one day and tried to sell me things involving PoE. It might well have been a decent solution, however, I certainly had an irrational fear of PoE given my previous negative experience. (Which was about ten years prior to said salesman's visit.)

Had the salesman had a decent sales engineer with him, they could have explained the advances in PoE equipment, worked with me to identify all devices on teh network and determine if they'd insta-fry and otherwise put the "myths" that I had accumulated surrounding the technology firmly to bed.

That is the job of the sales engineer. It isn't to sell, and certainly it isn't to upsell. (That's what Mr. Charisma is for.) The job of the sales engineer is to answer the technical questions and get to the truth of the matter.

I hate pushy salespeople as much as the next guy...but I have nothing but shitloads of respect for proper sales engineers. IT weenies are inherently conservative people: change is anathema and they need to understand and control every last element. The sales engineer is the dude that explains the minute details so that the nerd brigade has the appropriate amount of warm fuzzies and will sign off on it.

Good sales engineers are the difference between getting the right solution into an enterprise and getting a bunch of upsold shite that is unfit for purpose...or piles of unnecessary shite that doesn't meet business requirements, but are bought because the nerds want toys.

Now, if you could convince a Dell or an HP to fire Mr Charisma Closer Guy and just run the joint on SEs, that would be awesome. I can dream...

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Re: Fatboy Dell

>No, it doesn't have anything to do with upselling...at least not if it's done honestly and properly.

Good argument as long as you accept your initial premise which requires a company to have ethics and care about the customer instead of only the next quarter's bonuses which is becoming rarer and rarer.

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Re: Fatboy Dell

"Good argument as long as you accept your initial premise which requires a company to have ethics and care about the customer instead of only the next quarter's bonuses which is becoming rarer and rarer."

...which is purportedly why Michael Dell took the company private, no? To be free of the Wall Street pressures that make this myopic "only this quarter's numbers matter" view such a necessity? I believe that the theory is "Wall Street's demands make it impossible to treat the customer properly, ultimately leading to customer exodus, thus Dell will go private in order to free itself from Wall Street's demands enabling customer acquisition and retention by not being douchenozzles."

Here's hoping they succeed, because I'd love to see Wall Street's chronic economic myopia disproven in spectacular fashion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fatboy Dell

I wish somebody would take IBM private. Chasing Wall Street is driving the company to the dogs.

Posted anonymously because I'd rather like to receive my next paycheck...

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Re: Fatboy Dell

If you're a business with a lot of money to spend, then it's nice to have an account manager who will provide you with nice discounts and also sort stuff out when something goes wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fatboy Dell

I find DELL Premier Pages to be very good. I don't speak to our sales guy that often he never calls me and I just call him to sort any issues out and he's very good. This is in the research council sector which is lumped in with Higher Education. Sales guy is based out of Bracknell and support is UK/Ireland so we don't touch India

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Re: Fatboy Dell

Who needs a salesman?

Someone who needs guidance on what to buy. But that requires a skilled salesman.

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Re: Fatboy Dell

No, that requires a good set of SEs. The salesman is just the monkey pushing the knobs to make the invoices occur. :)

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Re: Fatboy Dell

Or is you are moving your desktops to VDI infrastructure, servers to virtualisation, need advice on networking / storage / iops etc, thats when you need them.

We're not taking about soho here.

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Trevor makes a lot of sense.

With technology changing so rapidly now the need for customers can change in an instant. You just can't know everything so you have to have specialists in different areas. Most sales people are just sales people but in IT you have to have a technical background as well to sell solutions to customers.

I've seen a lot of negative comments about Dell but I have also seen them about every IT company on the planet on here and while these companies are worth billions most of us on here are not even close to a 6 figure pay.

I've worked in tech and worked in sales selling technical solutions to customers so to see a company moving away from being the bitch of the stock market to trying to create something that is focussed on customers can only be a good thing. Dell is going to make most of its money from Enterprise as well as services and I can't see Michael offloading people who can bring benefit to this part of the business regardless of what rumours are on the internet.

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"Dell is going to make most of its money from Enterprise as well as services"

That's been working so well for HP, Dell thought they could share the gianormous pie as well?

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@Ledswinger HP doesn't make money off Enterprise services for two reasons

A) They skimp on the sales staff and support staff training, pay and incentives, leading to poorly trained, lower-quality people

B) They don't invest in R&D or sensible acquisitions, leading to having technology a generation and a half (or more) behind.

Dell thinks they can do well in enterprise, MSP, CSP and government services because they believe that without the pressures of Wall Street forcing them to behave in very proscribed ways they can offer superior quality and service resulting in a slow, but steady building of reputation for being "the best." Ultimately, they hope this will lead those with money to choose them over companies like HP that never will be "the best".

Will that work? Nobody knows. However, that is the great experiment currently underway.

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Re: Trevor makes a lot of sense.

He does, but so do the first and second posters on this thread. And that's the problem.

Dell needs to be two companies under one brand name. One is doing the commodity business of having a few primary configurations for lots of boxes that will be shipped to businesses for run of the mill desktop work. Maybe with a bit of sales work for a good bulk discount or a customer designed pre-loaded image on the system.

The other is the team of highly knowledgeable and motivated sales engineers and lead salesman to deal with more specialized details of the server and network infrastructure, possibly all the way to the cloud (gawd I hate that word).

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Trevor_Pott

"@Ledswinger HP doesn't make money off Enterprise services for two reasons

A) They skimp on the sales staff and support staff training, pay and incentives, leading to poorly trained, lower-quality people

B) They don't invest in R&D or sensible acquisitions, leading to having technology a generation and a half (or more) behind.

Dell thinks they can do well in enterprise, MSP, CSP and government services because they believe that without the pressures of Wall Street forcing them to behave in very proscribed ways they can offer superior quality and service resulting in a slow, but steady building of reputation for being "the best." Ultimately, they hope this will lead those with money to choose them over companies like HP that never will be "the best".

Will that work? Nobody knows. However, that is the great experiment currently underway."

Trevor, I agree with almost all of your posts so far. I've been in this business for 40+ years, since before the PC and I'm not able to know all that I want to know, so I need help. I'm working in semi-retirement for a friend's small business and I like the sales rep setup with technical help behind. I'm specifying a new server at this moment and trying to virtualize everything. I need help and Dell seems to me to be the best answer for SMBs. The only choices I see for SMBs are Dell, SuperMicro, and HP. I used to like IBM, but I think that has gone away. I used to avoid Dell like the plague, didn't like the support or the machines and the problems were manifest. As I'm moving into retirement and wanting a solution for my friend that his family can manage with little or no outside help, I'm turning to Dell. I've gotten pretty good support and it's gotten better over the last few years. They are moving into services, which I think is a smart move. Their acquisitions have been interesting. I love Equalogic, Compellent, SonicWall, and SecureWorks. Wish I could afford them. I'm looking at purchasing our Office 365 for Business through Dell because for a few dollars more they are providing end-user support that Microsoft doesn't. So yes, going private makes sense as opposed to the NYSE or even NASDAQ model. Customers before short-term profit will lead to more profit in the future, so I also hope Michael Dell is successful. HP could learn a lot. I can buy Dell locally at Fry's, Best Buy, Staples or wherever for workstations or personal computers, but I can get the support I need from Dell, especially for the higher end stuff like servers, storage, backup, etc. They should be moving into hybrid cloud backup also.

HP used to be my favorite company, back with Bill and David at the helm. I bought an HP-45 calculator when that first came out and quite a bit more after that. I've purchased my last HP product. I bought a $1250 "tablet" laptop several years ago that was poorly engineered with Vista onboard. Although Win 7 was weeks away, and well within the warranty period, HP never supported it on this expensive machine and the engineering was poor with severe overheating issues that were well documented, but never fixed. I've had to re-ball the unit twice and am going to try a third time and I can run it at only 50% because of the overheating issue. No HP for me, thank you!

Keep adding your comments!

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Wake up Dell, FFS

And yet when I tried to order two Dell machines last December it was nothing but HASSLE.

Everytime I got through to the sales department I was transferred to India.

The sales people, if that is indeed what they were, had a pre-prepared script that they insisted on dragging me through every time I called them. The script included wanting all of my contact details, even though I was trying to make an order on behalf of someone else.

The people spoke to had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA of how to sell. There was no attempt to personalise the conversation, no attempt to explain options, no attempt to close the sale. Even a plea to talk to a supervisor went unregistered.

After four attempts I gave up. The customer is the happy owner of two machines from another company.

Whatever happened to the Dell I remember from 5 years ago, when they couldn't have been more helpful, committed and eager?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wake up Dell, FFS

> Whatever happened to the Dell I remember from 5 years ago, when they couldn't have been more helpful, committed and eager?

Yes, in about that timeframe we had a Dell sales guy who was incredibly helpful - and consistently beat the website pricing. Since then, Dell sales have been a huge turn-off.

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The company I work for got hit hard in 2009/2010 when the "great recession" dragged on. Like many we cut back on our IT purchases for years and even though the "recession" continues on for most of us, we're looking to refresh much of our server and storage hardware this year.

I've had too luck with our Dell servers & storage and hope Dell can pull through. We've also used HP and have been happy with them. With both HP & Dell doing layoff it looks to be a another rocky year in IT.

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Anonymous Coward

I've had two accounts with Dell, a personal one and a business one. I recently went to purchase a new Dell laptop over the holidays and found that my personal account had been closed, no explanation, hell, unable to even get in touch with anyone to give an explanation.

So, I ordered online with a new personal account, got $50 off for new (?) customer and $100 off for "black friday" deal, also about $70 of for using a rebate site. not bad, except...on the delivery date, they canceled the order, again no explanation and stuck in an endless loop (both personal and business account) on the phone.

finally got through days later, and the reason.......because the address raised a question as to why two accounts have the same address. I explained why and they STILL couldn't explain why my other account was closed. So, they reinstated the order and...laptop arrives.

Only, it's NOT the price from the original order, see, they canceled that one...but never told anyone.

Trying to contact them to get it straightened up.....in the endless phone loop.....again.

I'm not the only one to go through this with Dell, upon searching the net, there are literally thousands of people stating the same.

Dell, if you are listening, and I seriously doubt it, know this: I'm a customer, I don't need to beg you for your product. there are others, and they are more than happy to deal with me in this market, especially right now.

I'm done with Dell. period. We are in the process of upgrading our PCs from older XPs to newer ones, thus the business account. Guess who will NOT be getting a call.

The only person I feel sorry for during all this is Micheal Dell, who's name is on the company, on the product. not the way I would want to be remembered.

Oh, and yeah, I know there will be some trolls out there stating "Yeah, like your refusal to do business with them is gonna effect their bottom line".

True that, my money doesn't even register, BUT, add all the others with the same problems, and all the others who will have those problems.....what's that, is that a crack I see?

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Two years ago, I called up the account manager I'd had for a few years to that point (previous conversation being a couple months prior). Extension not in service. Email address just returned a bounceback. Tried to call the primary sales line and no one could locate the name, or my account. Okay, someone got laid off, and the organization signally failed to take over her communications lines and transfer them elsewhere. Got it. Tried to get ahold of a salesperson to make an order of a few laptops on my account. It took me the better part of a day to find someone who was willing to take my order, and then... no order. And that person wouldn't return my calls or email. Their supervisor kept referring me back to them, though, even though I was explicitly asking to be referred to someone - anyone - else. Eventually I got the few laptops ordered (it was actually urgent, and important that they be the same model/hardware as previous ones I'd ordered), and that's the last time I've bought anything with the name Dell on it.

I'm sure losing my $20K/yr spending isn't affecting their bottom line, but surely all these anecdotes do add up to a bit of data (and some red ink)?

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Alert

I think these anecdotes are precisely what the bloodbath is all about. Micky Dell just got his company back from the Wall Street Money types, and is trying to return it to the high esteem it held while under his watch.

Boardroom practices of "increase profits by cutting down employees" has resulted in a sales team that is as useful as the Board Members were paying for, which is to say a chocolate teapot would have out-performed most of them. Now Dell needs to wield a machete, rather than a scalpel, to return to what we all remember.

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Dealing with a Dell Sales Rep

They were making such a big deal out of working with their rep that I figured I would give it a try here and there. Most of the time they can not beat the price on the website. When you get the quote back, they have changed parts from the quote to make it cheaper. It was a simple question, can you give me a better price on this with these parts? Not monkey with my order so I have top go back line by line checking the order. Most of the reps are a waste of time. When you finally get to find out who your rep is, they are gone, or they re-organized how your business lines up. They should have a rep that you work with, and that does not change. Pricing on the website should not be so competitive that they can not do anything for you on bulk orders. Not to mention when you try to deal with Dell from a channel partner, they will turn around and undercut their own partners. Who wants to work with a company like that? I keep people away from Dell as much as possible anymore. If HP could actually get their act together to make it easier order servers, workstations, and laptops, Dell would probably be finished.

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Re: Dealing with a Dell Sales Rep

Dell are already finished. Michael Dell took control of an aircraft crashing to the ground. It's still crashing just not in such a steep dive as it was as a publicly traded company.

Watch as their market share drops like Nokia.

Watch as their customer service levels reach the low levels of the likes of Vodafone.

Watch as their reputation evaporates like Blackberry.

Watch as other companies like Lenovo, Samsung and (even) HP embrace alternative technologies to Windows 8 like Android and Chrome OS.

I predict Dell will emerge as a shadow of its former self and Microsoft will buy it to round out their devices and services vision. Dell the last of the great Microsoft OEM partners.

Watch 2 companies die for the price of 1. All of this within 2 years (Dell) and 5 years (Microsoft).

You heard it here first.

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Since I've been quoted

I just want to make clear that I am not now and never have been a Dell Employee. I use a fair bit of their kit at work and generally have had good experiences working with them.

I hope everyone affected lands well.

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Anonymous Coward

Dell sales droids threatened to be fired? My heart bleeds...

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If has to be anyone let it be sales, HR or middle management I say.

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Dell's end of year coming up

Should make for some good discounts.

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Turnover

It doesn't help when I get a "new" Dell Sales Representative every month. When I do need to ask a question or speak to an Engineer for some recommendations, I have to wade through about 15 Different contacts to find the "current" guy because none of the "old" guys still are available to even redirect my call elsewhere.

So then I end up at a reseller like CDW (who only gives me a new guy every three months) to direct me to a Specialist (Microsoft, Virtualization, Storage, Networking, Desktop, Mobile etc etc etc) who doesn't do Dell.

If I can't spec it out at Dell online, I don't buy Dell.

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Re: Turnover

Same for us. We had a really good account manager in Ireland who got reassigned, our new one is India and we are in Scotland. We can never get hold of him, and if we place an order that he doesn't know about he cancels it and then re-orders under his name. Can't get hold of him to shout at him either.

I used to work for Dell as an engineer in Glasgow and the "us and them" attitude from the sales team there was the worst I have ever seen at any company I've ever worked for, made worse by the global assumption that every engineer wanted to progress to sales or team management.

The combination of all of this and lead times getting longer and longer means we're buying HP 90% of the time as the kit we want is on the shelf and our reseller is available at the end of the phone if we have any questions.

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It isn't just about PCs

Ralph B

"Back in the day when I bought Dells, back when Dell were successful, I never spoke to a salesman. I just called up the website, configured the PC, paid the money and waited for it to be delivered."

JAAC

"The joy of Dell - as opposed to HP/IBM - you checked out the specs on the website, ordered the machine on the website, it arrived."

Dell doesn't want to be a PC business. Selling Latitudes, Optiplexes and low-end PowerEdge servers and PowerVault Storage is a race to the bottom. Dell's challenge is to convince Enterprises to replace EMC and NetApp with Compellent or to replace Cisco TOR switches with Force10s. For that, they need the right sales teams with a heavier focus on highly technical Sales Engineers and account executives with the clout to create a strong business case to achieve a competitive win.

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Re: It isn't just about PCs

>For that, they need the right sales teams with a heavier focus on highly technical Sales Engineers and account executives with the clout to create a strong business case to achieve a competitive win.

And they are doing that so well they are laying off a good chunk of the company.

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First HP..now Dell...

The foundations under windows are collapsing before our eyes

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wait

I thought the Dell Streak was going to save the company? Hey quit laughing. Mr. Dell knows what he is talking about.

"Michael Dell, the company's chief executive, said on Monday in India that tablets were an "additional device". It appears that while Dell recognises that the tablet market is a lucrative one, even amid patent wars and sales injunctions, it should be secondary to the PC market that still holds more weight."

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Anonymous Coward

Dell need to do a number of things to really win me back.

Firstly give me my non pushy non Indian Salesman back phoning me up every 5 minutes to see if I have the PO signed off then trying to make me feel bad when I go with someone else

Secondly allow me to buy stuff on my account online at a decent price rather than having to put every tiny 5PC deal via the salesman who inevitably changes something I don't want

Thirdly when I do want a quote get it back to me in a reasonable timeframe, I gave you the specs I wanted and you just need to type it in

Fourthly, I am fed up with poor quality products and support, let me have my early 2000's stuff back. FYI when I have a fault a support person telling me to swap the CPUs round in my server is not really an option! Especially as we have so called pro support! BTW the solution didn't work

We buy HP and Dell but personally I can't wait to see what Lenovo can bring

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Wheat from the Chaff

I actually see this as a positive sign from Dell. As from the comments above there is a fair amount of chaff that Michael Dell needs to split out from the wheat. The comments above in terms of customer / partner experience will be commonplace. The merry-go-round of account management is down to management not managing their staff properly and being entirely focussed on sales / margin at any cost. This leads to relationship breaking service disasters. Miss-sold solutions, inadequate solutions, wrong skill set account managers trying to sell complex solutions and putting businesses in jeopardy.

At a strategic level Dell are getting a lot of things right. The tight relationship with Microsoft is bang on the money. The Quest Software acquisition is far more sane than HP's utter shambles with EDS. There's a lot to like about Dell at the moment. If they get rid of some of the clownshoes responsible for all the general snash we all have to deal with all the better. Some of the nonsense about having to learn too much just about sums up some of the wastrels at Dell. Partners manage to configure complex solutions without the backing of billions of dollars of support and training. Shape up or ship out!!!

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Sonicwall

Sonicwall support has taken a serious nosedive since Dell has taken over.

just sayin...

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Re: Sonicwall

"Sonicwall support has taken a serious nosedive since Dell has taken over."

How bizarre, we've experienced exactly the opposite! Before the take-over all Sonicwall engineers wanted to do was blame problems on firmware issues, connected equipment etc. Since the take-over I've had 3 faulty units swapped out within 24 hours (at different times) with no hassles at all.

It just goes to show (I just don't know what!)

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Quite a bit of Dell kit here, though it's been a long time since we had to speak to Dell themselves. Usually we figure out what we're after, use the website to get a full config and then send it to a few VARs for quotes. And usually the lowest quote wins, and it's usually a lower than what Dell can offer.

Some VARs are better than others of course. Once I was after a server with 2 disks mirrored for boot/apps and a single SSD for some RRD files. That option wasn't on the Dell config, so I asked 3 VARs if what I was after was possible. Only 1 VAR managed to tell me it was possible to do what I wanted and then provide the solution.

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A bit late to the party...

...but we have a lot of Dell equipment here. Off hand, we have something like 1600 desktops/laptops, 30 servers, 3 Compellent arrays, and 2 EqualLogic systems. The support on the data center gear from our perspective is solid. Copilot for Compellent is fantastic, currently my #1 favorite. EqualLogic and PowerEdge support have all been very good as well, always within the SLA of the support contract.

We have had problems with hardware bought in one country getting warrantied in another, I do wish they would address that issue.

I'm pretty happy with the kit I'm getting. Low failure rate and solid support, freebies here and there, and the Help Desk guys are liking the new ultrabooks, very popular with our travelers.

I've had the same Account Manager for 5 years, he was in the role before I got here. Good guy, picks up a lunch here and there and is always up to talk. If we want to go direct through Dell, no problem. If we want a VAR involved, no problem. References? Done. Site visits? Tell me when you're free.

Our SE is another good guy, sent me to Enterprise Forum last year and is always shooting me emails about new products and sending personal invites to Dell events just to save me the hassle of filling out an online forum.

Yeah they've accidentally ordered a wrong IO card for me and the hardware DOES take too long to ship from the order date (a month, minimum) but a little planning and verification goes a long way.

IBM doesn't care to come around at all anymore after we had some serious issues with their kit. HP wants us to buy something first (specifically a 3PAR, it seems), THEN they'll start coming around. Dell and Cisco however (among a few others, Meru, FortiNet) seem to be genuinely interested in seeing us succeed. We're far from their biggest customers in this region but they're always excited to get in on the next "big project".

Sure glad my guys missed the axe, too bad there aren't more like them or I'm sure some of you guys would be singing praises. Good SE's and good account/sales guys teaming up to deliver products/services has had very positive results for us.

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