Software Companies as Hardware Companies: Challenge 3: Global Support

In the final installment in my series on software companies becoming hardware companies (read 1, 2, 3), I’m looking more closely at the intricacies of “going global” from a support perspective.

The ability to deliver a new product to a global marketplace can be very exciting, especially for smaller companies. And, while this can be an intensely complex process by itself, it’s just part of the equation for software companies selling hardware-based solutions.

No matter where a company is based or to where its products are shipped, end users the world over demand the products sold to them work – every time. Down time in the field is not an option.

It’s because of this that the issue of global support has never been more important and an area of a software company’s business model where they can really differentiate from their competition if they get it right early on.

But most companies aren’t equipped to manage support calls, ship spare parts, troubleshoot and conduct in-field maintenance and system updates everywhere in the world. In addition to the logistical challenges of providing dedicated, 24×7 support resources, there’s also the need for dozens of regional parts depots so components can be shipped immediately and arrive quickly.

So, what’s a company to do to support a global support infrastructure — even with limited resources in a small, single-location office?

For these companies, outsourcing support can not only ease logistical headaches, it can improve process efficiency and vastly mitigate downtime risks.

What, exactly can a full-service, Tier One manufacturer do to streamline support?

Companies, especially those who develop end-user solutions for their own customers, have added challenges when it comes to fully supporting technologies through entire lifecycles. System updates, component replacements and testing, recertifications and length of warranty are all part of the support ecosystem

For Dell’s OEM customers, ProSupport for OEMis designed to provide all the protections and peace of mind needed for any company delivering their hardware-based solutions. Its high degree of customization provides only the level of support needed. So, for a company in need of a global support infrastructure, the level of support is considerable.

Resource access remains key to the success of every global support program.

Whether your solution is built using Dell platforms or not, highly trained experts are available 24x7x365 and, because Dell’s support team is comprised of more than 15,000 certified field technicians spread across 60 Expert Tech Support Centers and 180 countries, the right support is always available. No matter where in the world you may be.

And, because Dell owns its support infrastructure, we can closely monitor it and make changes to improve the customer and end-user experience.

What about warranty support?

Software companies who build hardware based, end-user solutions don’t have crystal balls that tell them exactly how long something needs to be covered by warranty for their customers. So, their warranties must be more flexible and active for longer periods.

Our ProSupport customers enjoy a 3-month warranty extension at no additional cost. Integration can take time. It’s important to do it right. And, with up to five years of warranty protection (more if necessary), there’s no risk of being unprotected at the end of a product’s lifecycle when it may matter most.

Parts and labor in hours. Not days. For the most mission-critical solutions, next-day parts delivery and two-hour on-site support are available.

Support is the same anywhere in the world.

Language barriers, country-specific regulations and even the skillsets of regional workers can lead to support breakdowns. But, because of the breadth and depth of our global support infrastructure, Dell offers the same support levels in every country it reaches.

And, with seven global command centers, multi-lingual support forums and online incident management and parts dispatch, customers don’t have to spend time in the field, checking to make sure their systems are operational.

Trixter, a now-global fitness equipment manufacturer, succinctly noted the value of working with Dell to support global expansion:

"We estimate that we are saving 30 percent of our per unit costs by sourcing and supporting products in each geographic region through Dell OEM Solutions." Paddy Murray, President, Trixter

How have you managed your global support challenges?

About the Author: Joyce Mullen

Joyce Mullen is President of Global Channel, Embedded & Edge Solutions. Joyce focuses on all facets of the multi-billion dollar Dell EMC Partner Program, including channel strategy, partner program design and omni-channel enablement, as well as execution across solution provider, global systems integrator and distribution relationships. Her team also delivers best-in-class technology to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), allowing them to focus on their intellectual property and grow their business; and to IoT customers and partners, who depend on and sell connected devices. A strong and passionate leader, Joyce is committed to helping customers solve the world’s most vexing problems faster and more efficiently. Joyce has been a Dell executive for over 20 years, leading teams in operations, supply chain, partner strategy, services delivery and logistics. Prior to joining Dell, Joyce had a nine-year career at Cummins Engine Company. She earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Brown University and a MBA from Harvard Business School. Throughout Joyce’s career, she has been very active serving on community boards. She has chaired or co-chaired the Austin chapter of the March of Dimes, Women in Search of Excellent (WISE) board, Forte Foundation, and the Brown School of Engineering Corporate Affiliates board, and is currently on the board of the Central Texas Food Bank and The Toro Company.