Dell opens tech center in Singapore

update New facility to showcase vendor's technologies and help businesses test-bed new concepts in areas such as computing and data management, and is part of global US$1 billion investment plan.

update SINGAPORE--Dell unveiled Thursday its first solution center in the South Asia region to showcase its technologies as well as help enterprises test-bed new concepts.

The Singapore Solution Center is one of four such facilities in the Asia-Pacific region for Dell's enterprise customers to learn about its offerings, and is part of the company's US$1 billion global investment announced in April, said Paul-Henri Ferrand, chief marketing officer for Dell's global consumer and SMB (small and midsize business) division at the launch event. Dell plans to build a total of 12 solution centers globally this year, he noted.

The facility will showcase an array of offerings relating to next-generation computing, intelligent data management and end-user computing as well as technologies specific to various vertical markets, the company said in a statement. It will serve also as a venue for customer briefings and product demos, architectural design sessions to explore specific options in finding the best products for its customers, and proof-of-concept testing and validation as well as to provide support for horizontal and vertical offerings.

Although many of its competitors have already set up similar tech centers, Ferrand, who is also president of Dell Asia-Pacific and Japan, noted that the company's solution center is different as Dell subscribes to an open data center philosophy. The vendor advocates unlocking customers from proprietary systems and assists customers in adopting open stacks which promise customers more flexibility, lower IT costs and greater efficiency, he said.

In contrast, its rivals only offer proprietary systems into their tech centers and those that claim to be "open" are not, he added.

Another differentiator for Dell's solution center is that it is connected to its other solution centers worldwide, said Ferrand. Currently only four facilities--in Limerick, Shanghai, Singapore and Austin--are open but all 12 are expected to operate by the end of the year, he noted.

With its solution centers linked up over secure networks, customers are able to leverage the computing power and storage capability in other locations as well, Ferrand said, adding that none of Dell's competitors has such a global infrastructure.

The shared resources also extend to expertise, a Dell spokesperson pointed out. In the event that a local Dell solution center employee is not able to solve an issue at hand, he or she is able to tap the expertise of their counterparts located in other parts of the globe.

While Ferrand was unable to share how much Dell invested in the facility, he said the Singapore center is currently staffed by 10 employees and will look to expand its manpower if necessary. He added that Dell has no intention of charging its customers for using the equipment and services at the solution center.

Ferrand reiterated that Dell is shifting its focus from hardware to helping enterprises with their IT needs. This is underscored by the fact that enterprise products is contributing two-thirds of the company's profit margin, he noted.

Storage has been a driver of profit within the enterprise product segment, added Ferrand. This is due to Dell moving away from being a reseller of EMC storage to become a storage equipment maker through the acquisitions of EqualLogic and Compellent, he said.