HP can come to a customer not only with its services play, but also with its
tightly integrated PC, networking, server and printer businesses, he said.
"IBM has bought a lot of software
companies, but you can argue that there's not a lot of integration" within
the software unit, Gee said.
In addition, HP has armed itself with its EDS
acquisition, which Gee said significantly expanded what HP can offer in way of
services. HP already offered technical services, but now it also has IT
outsourcing, application services and business process services. The
combination of the two has helped HP Services expand its customer base, Gee
"We're going out and winning some business where as stand-alone
[companies], neither one of us would have won," he said.
Dell officials said they plan to use the same approach that enabled them to
expand their hardware businesses to increase their services capabilities.
"Dell became an IT leader through a highly efficient build-to-order
hardware solution," Altabef said. "When you take that business methodology
and the workflow associated with that, we believe we can do the same thing in
services-reducing complexity and driving out inefficiencies across the service
and support life cycle. Dell Services is large enough to be credible yet nimble
enough to lead a transformation in the services industry."
The focus on the midmarket also will be important, according to Steve
Schuckenbrock, president of Dell's Large Enterprise group.
"Many of these customers are actually not interested in doing business
with the really big outsourcing firms because they feel like they will be lost
in the noise as they continue to scramble on some of those big deals,"
Schuckenbrock said. "They don't see that with the combination of Perot and
Pund-IT analyst King said Dell's shift from a hardware vendor to more of a
solutions company makes sense.
"Dell is still a $50 billion company, but profit margins in those
[hardware] areas ain't what they used to be," he said.
While Dell is running behind the likes of HP and IBM,
King said the company is taking an interesting tack with such ideas as doing as
much services work as possible remotely and keeping customer engagements as
short as possible while still getting the job done.
"That's a pretty different kind of approach," King