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Dell to Offer 'Managed Services' to Small Biz

Dell this year will begin selling pre-packaged technical services to mid-sized companies and plans to make similar offerings to small businesses soon thereafter.

The services, known in high-tech parlance as "managed services," include system design, deployment, technical support, and asset management. While these services are available piecemeal from Dell today, the Round Rock, Texas, PC maker said it hopes to create "relationship umbrellas" with SMBs by offering all the services in one contract.

"Soon we'll be coming out with support for 500 to 1,000 seats, and then we'll be moving downscale," said David Ornelas, director and product executive for Dell Managed Services. Dell defines small businesses as those employing 200 or fewer workers.

The systems maker said it will focus its efforts on businesses that are primarily Dell equipment users. As such, it would not compete with Hewlett-Packard and IBM, whose semi-autonomous service units offer technical services to businesses whether or not their computers are present.

The SMB strategy follows closely on the heels of a significant push by Dell to sell managed services to large enterprises. In October Dell signed a five-year service pact with Boeing and in recent weeks signed a contract with an unnamed multibillion-dollar international financial services firm.

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