Dell is now in the VoIP game! I was talking with Microsoft's Clint Patterson, Director of PR for Unified Communications, this morning and I asked him about Dell, since I noticed they were listed as one of Microsoft's OCS 2007 partners being announced today. I was curious if Dell's plans were to pre-install Microsoft OCS 2007 and leverage their huge
professional services division to help businesses deploy Office Communications Server 2007. As you know, I've expressed some skepticism
about Microsoft deploying OCS in the SMB space without channel partner help.
Well, Clint confirmed that Dell was indeed going to pre-install OCS on Dell servers and offer professional services. Dell has a tremendous opportunity here since they have built a loyal following amongst IT personnel with their in-person technical support that has the option of a 24-hour guaranteed turnaround. For example, if you have a motherboard or hard disk failure, Dell will send a support technician to your office within 24 hours to fix it.
Similarly, these technicians can be sent out in the event of an OCS 2007 failure with a fast turnaround. Of course, this will require the technicians have some sort of OCS certification, so it might take some time for Dell to ramp up their OCS technicians. Also, Microsoft told me that as of the OCS 2007 launch today, you can not only order a Dell server with OCS 2007 pre-installed, but you can also order VoIP equipment
that works with OCS 2007. So in essence, customers can go to Dell.com and click-to-order a complete unified communications system including VoIP phones and receive professional services as well. Sweet!
Clint commented, "Effectively they're (Dell) becoming a single source for companies to go to begin their UC journey. So you can get the hardware, the Microsoft software, integration services, the devices- so really providing the full solution there. Dell's investment and entry into this market at the launch of Microsoft Unified Communications solutions really says something about the momentum behind Microsoft and unified communications and momentum behind our software-based approach to UC as well."
Similarly, HP is also planning on offering professional services to businesses for OCS 2007 deployment. Clint said, "When we look at the services opportunity alone, that's a $7 billion opportunity in this next year - in 2008. Overall, the market represents about $45 billion by 2010. Not just the services piece, but the entire market. So there is substantial partner opportunity there and you see folks like HP really delivering value at several levels.
In other OCS news, Ericsson is announcing a GSM mobility gateway which will integrate with OCS 2007 to bring the capabilities of your office phone to your mobile phone, i.e. transferring a call, put a call on hold, conference a call, all from your mobile. Ericsson will utilize OCS 2007's VoIP call management capabilities as their core call management system.
Another bit of interesting OCS news is that Forrester today announced a study that customers will receive a 500% ROI with OCS 2007 in just three years. Finally, all of the OCS-optimized phone and headset devices will also officially launch today, including the Tanjay, Catalina, Polycom, Plantronics, GN Netcom.
Update: 1:15pm - Here's the Dell & Microsoft official announcement
Company to Deliver Microsoft Corp. Unified Communications Solution from Data Center Infrastructure to Desktop Telephony
ROUND ROCK, Texas, Oct. 16, 2007 – Dell’s rallying cry is IT simplification and today it announced new products and relationships to help customers reduce complexity and improve the productivity of myriad communications options – e-mail, fax, phone, or PC – known as Unified Communications (UC).
Dell’s Unified Communications solution offers all the necessary components – desktop to data center computer systems, software, telephony and services expertise – from a Tier One systems provider to implement a UC environment. Dell has worked with Microsoft Corp. to deliver validated solutions based on the recently released Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. The company also launched an alliance with Nortel to deliver the telephony, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) components and services integral to UC.
“Customers face a device deluge in order to stay connected – using separate work e-mail, phone systems and cell phones,” said Rick Becker, vice president of solutions, Dell Product Group. “And all of these systems are purchased and managed separately. Unified communications – receiving and responding to all your messages in one place – will pave the way for the next generation of productivity tools.”
“Dell is putting a stake in the ground and betting big on the Microsoft Unified Communications solutions to deliver innovative and new communications solutions for its customers,” said Jeff Raikes, President, Microsoft Business Division, Microsoft Corp. “Dell took the pain out of buying a PC, and now they’re bringing that same simplicity to unified communications.”
UC combines e-mail with telephony, voicemail, audio and video conferencing, instant messaging and SMS text messaging into a single interface. Removing the barrier between phones and computers opens a new world of powerful features; whether it is voicemails and faxes that arrive in the inbox where they can be forwarded or responded to just like e-mail, or a phone call that transforms into a video conference, Dell presents a complete, simplified solution for each customer’s communications needs.
Dell and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 – Modular Approach to UC
Dell’s long-standing relationship with Microsoft enables it to deliver a unique, modular UC solution. It combines Office Communications Server 2007, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 and Microsoft Office Outlook with UC-enabled hardware, services and telephony platforms that are validated in Dell’s labs.
Customers can implement one or all four of the modules based on their unique business needs. The four modules are:
• Office Communications Server 2007 – provides presence, instant messaging and on-premise conferencing like Microsoft Office Live Meeting.
• Office Communications Server 2007 – Telephony Offering – enables call routing tracking and management, VoIP call management and gateway and public branch exchange (PBX) integration.
• Video and Video Conference – allows point-to-point conference, video conference and VoIP audio conference.
• Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging – provides voicemail, e-mail and fax in Microsoft Office Outlook, and on-the-go access to the inbox and calendar through Microsoft Office Outlook Voice Access.
Dell Unified Communications solutions can be implemented quickly and easily, and with less risk than any other vendor by combining its expertise in Microsoft Windows Server Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and x86 computing environments with the knowledge of its telephony and network partners into a single point of contact. Dell is one of the major systems providers participating in Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Program, which provides real-world knowledge for deploying UC in large organizations and building consistent, repeatable service practices.
Dell and Nortel
Dell and Nortel have signed an agreement to offer customers a comprehensive UC solution leveraging Nortel’s entire Enterprise Solutions portfolio. Dell will offer a suite of professional services to support UC, such as network design, proof-of-concept, program management and on-going technical support. Additionally, Dell and Nortel have formally established joint product development initiatives.
This announcement represents a unique value for customers because it combines Dell’s expertise in designing and deploying Microsoft solutions for PCs, servers, and storage with Nortel’s world-class VoIP, data networking and multimedia-conferencing solutions.
“Communications and business process are rapidly intersecting,” said Joel Hackney, president, Nortel Enterprise Solutions, “Today’s announcement with Dell underscores our commitment to accelerating the ability of today’s enterprises to realize the full benefits of moving to unified communications.”
“Early adopters of unified communications are experiencing double-digit productivity gains,” said Victor Bohnert, executive director of International Nortel Networks Users Association (INNUA). “The combination of Dell’s ability to drive performance from the desktop to the data center, coupled with Nortel’s leadership in voice over IP and networking, will further accelerate the ability of enterprises to optimize communications.”
With this announcement, Dell can distribute Nortel and Microsoft Innovative Communications Alliance solutions across the United States and Canada.
“Delivering a comprehensive UC solution requires us to work collaboratively with a number of partners. Through our relationship with Nortel, we are making it easy for customers to enable a mobile workforce,” said Becker. “We are building on our ability to deliver simplified IT solutions and helping customers remove cost and complexity with a fully integrated network solution.”
Dell’s Unified Communications solutions are available in North America today and will expand to additional regions in the coming months. For more information please visit www.dell.com/unified