Dell's decision to hold its first ever enterprise conference may be helping it to change minds, according to some of its customers.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Dell puts recent acquisitions to work. | Also: Lenovo surpasses Dell, becomes No. 2 PC vendor. | Keep up on the day's tech news headlines with InfoWorld's Today's Headlines: Wrap Up newsletter. ]
Take Thomas Glaser, vice president of IT at Howard Community College in Columbia, Md. He has been buying Dell hardware for a decade, and this week he was walking around the trade show floor visiting exhibits.
"Going through this has been a real eye-opener," said Glaser, noting that he wasn't aware of all the services Dell has added, such as educational metrics. "It's hard to get that awareness without walking through a facility like this."
Glaser is open to buying services, but he worries about them as well. The more of his IT budget that goes to recurring services, the less he may have to jump on new innovation, he said.
Dan Bracy, director of IT at Orthofix, a medical services company in Dallas, said he was invited by his Dell rep to attend the conference. A longtime Dell hardware user, he pointed out that he has had some quality issues with Dell laptops and moved to a different supplier.
But at this conference, Bracy seemed opened to the idea of returning to Dell laptops after hearing from the company and getting details on new models. And when considering services, Dell's "name will come up now," he said.
Bracy saw value in the conference. As an established supplier, Bracy said that Dell already has access to him. But his office also gets 100 calls a day from vendors trying to sell something. "To get in front of me requires something like this," he said of the conference.
Russ Jackson, an IT manager at Simpson Lumber Co., in Tacoma, Wash., views Dell as a hardware firm and remains unconvinced that it is the leading company to go to for certain services. Even so, Jackson said the conference will "keep me thinking about Dell as a services company."
Dell made a major leap into services when it acquired Perot Systems for nearly $4 billion in 2009, one year after Hewlett-Packard bought EDS for $13.9 billion.