SMB Customers Discuss Enterprise Solutions Helping Grow Their Business

Over the past several months, Dell
has shared a lot about how the new 11G enterprise products
and services
help businesses run more efficiently – and today
a new full line of solutions are added
to help growing businesses achieve greater
IT efficiency and lower costs. For small and medium businesses, this
means having IT solutions that are easy to operate (reducing costs), reliable by
eliminating downtime, and are secure with enhanced data protection.

I connected with a couple of our customers (business
profiles below) to find out how technology solutions can benefit SMBs and help
them grow their businesses.

– Authenticom is
a "one stop shop" for all data integrity. 
With a special ability to poll, cleanse, data append, and push data,
clients have the most optimal up-to-date customer data possible.  Authenticom can seamlessly update and append
data back into the client's data management systems or into just about any
third party application. 

Milestone Consulting Group
– Milestone provides consulting
services around the Microsoft Enterprise Project Management suite, mostly to
Fortune 500 companies. Milestone helps businesses make sure that their human
resources are working on the most effective and important projects for their
organization. The consulting services teach companies how to best identify,
estimate, and prioritize work — along with best practices for planning, tracking,
and executing projects.

Here are some of the highlights from what the two Dell
customers, Craig Rhodes of Authenticom
and Brandon Thornton of Milestone Consulting
, had to say:

Simplifying technology with Dell

Authenticom is a database intensive company. Because of the company's nature,
it is imperative that data is available 24X7 with the necessary velocity
to achieve our demand for speed and accessibility. The IT Assistant and soon to
be Dell
Management Console
allow us to maintain our 120+ servers by alerting and
upgrading all aspects of the servers. 
The ability to schedule BIOS, Firmware and Drivers on the servers frees
up our Server Administrators time to work on "real" issues.  Now with the Management Console, we will be
able to do server trending and have the ability to automate the querying of
Dell's web site to report on warranty expirations for budgetary purposes.

Brandon: There are really three things that have
helped us a lot.  We're a small company and
we like to focus on doing business with our customers, not on technology.  One of the key components of Dell's
technology has been in the realm of server manageability, that being remote access to our
servers.  On average, we probably visit
the data center maybe once a month — made possible by Dell's OpenManage suite.
Secondly, ProSupport for IT has been extremely helpful for us since we
have a highly geographically dispersed centralized workforce. With Dell's
support, we don't have to employ anybody internally to support
our deployed laptop base. Finally, integrated cellular cards have provided
all of our employees wireless broadband in their Latitudes so they can easily
access the Internet at customer sites.

Driving Efficiency

Craig: For us, building
a server from scratch would usually take 3 to 4 hours from start to
finish.  With the Dell Open Management
tools automation, we just kick of the initial install and work on other
projects while the install takes place. This saves us countless time not having
to downloading drivers and waiting to hit the F6 key to load raid drivers.

Brandon: Email (Microsoft Exchange) is one of our
very most important systems.  In our
first two years in business, our email uptime was around 98 percent, which I
suppose maybe wasn't bad. But, if you had asked people in the company, they'd
say it was really bad.  Last year we put
our mail servers on the PowerEdge 2950 platform, and migrated to Exchange 2007. After that,
we had five minutes of total downtime that year for our mail system.  This was a tremendous improvement in our reliability
of the email system when it comes to efficiency and labor costs.

Data Protection

Craig: I should
knock on wood, but honestly in my past 12 years that I have been working with
Dell equipment I have never had a catastrophe happen.  Oh sure, we've had a couple of times where a
server dropped because of a raid controller going bad, but with the way Dell
systems work it is very easy to install a new controller and have the system
come back online fairly quickly.

had some fairly good fortune about data protection. However, Dell has helped us
get something done with our data that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to
do.  For one of our large clients we
wanted to virtualize our training environment, but we weren't sure
we were ready to invest the money. The time frame was extremely short, basically
two weeks to put the whole thing together. 
Our account team did a tremendous job of pulling everything together for
us, helping us get the specifications for this environment right and getting
the hardware to us in the space of about a week. 
For a smaller business to get that kind of support from Dell really
helped our business do something we'd never done before.

About the Author: Kara Krautter