If you’re still envisioning Dell as that place you call when you need to buy 100 new laptops for the sales team, it’s time to paint a new picture. This week, Dell not only announced its first infrastructure-as-a-service offering but also announced that it will offer a family of hosted software apps for small and mid-sized businesses through partnerships with Salesforce.com, Microsoft, Intuit and other vendors.
In other words, Dell is accelerating its transformation from a low-margin manufacturer of hardware into a services and consulting business that will look a lot more like IBM and a lot less like its somewhat-traumatized competitor HP.
The first service, Salesforce.com’s customer relationship management system (CRM), is already available through Dell, and next year it will offer hosted versions of Microsoft’s Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting software along with other services. Dell also hopes that the Boomi software it recently acquired will help all these disparate pieces of software talk to each other.
By next year, Dell plans to offer an analytics service that works across all its hosted applications, providing a “unified view of their business through a cross-platform dashboard,” as Dell put it.
The price for all this: packages will start at $565 per month for the CRM service, including Salesforce.com and the Boomi integration.