Dell, SAP team on business software, services

Dell will expand its services portfolio to include support for customers running applications and databases from SAP, as part of a pledge for closer interaction between the two companies, Dell Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell announced Wednesday at a press conference in New York.

Dell was joined on stage at the Nasdaq Marketsite by SAP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Henning Kagermann to announce new services and highlight a growing relationship between the two companies that has expanded to include more than 5,000 enterprise customers running SAP's software on Dell servers.

SAP's customers that use Dell servers in the U.S. will now contact Dell first when seeking support, Dell said. Dell will also offer operating system migration services to help customers move away from Unix operating systems to Linux and Windows, he said.

Dell's services arm allows SAP customers to quickly deploy SAP applications while helping to iron out configuration issues, Kagermann said.

Dell provided these types of services for a limited number of customers prior to Wednesday's announcement, but will now make them broadly available, said Jeff Clarke, senior vice president and general manager of Dell's Product Group.

The company also works with Oracle to provide simliar services for Oracle's databases, Clarke said. Applications vendors are drawn to Dell because the company has no applications business of its own, unlike some of its competitors in the enterprise hardware market, he said.

"Customers want best-in-class solutions," Clarke said. Dell feels it can offer its customers better application support through partners such as SAP and Oracle than companies like Hewlett-Packard and IBM, which offer their own application products, he said

The companies have no plans for expand Dell's partnership to include hosting SAP applications, Dell said.

Both Dell and Kagermann pointed to a resurgence in corporate technology spending in the U.S. as a reason for the growing partnership between the two companies.

"Companies are becoming more confident in their spending. They are remembering what technology spending is all about," Dell said. IT customers are looking to expand their existing two-way and four-way servers based on Intel's processors, and those customers still running Unix servers will eventually move away from those platforms, he said.

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