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In its push to gain credibility as an enterprise IT vendor, Dell is turning up its high-end service a notch with an offering that boasts global coverage and more sophisticated monitoring tools.

The new Platinum Plus service replaces the previous Platinum offering, and current Platinum service customers will be converted to Platinum Plus at no additional charge, said Steve Meyer, Dell services vice president.

While targeting large corporate customers, the new service stays within the mold that the Round Rock, Texas, company has established for services: packaging standard offerings with its own equipment and avoiding complex customized systems integration. “We don’t do everything. We offer superior execution by focusing on a specific set of services,” said Meyer.

Platinum Plus enhancements over the previous Platinum service include availability in the Asia-Pacific region so that multinational companies can use Dell services worldwide, a reduction in the minimum number of servers—from 200 to 100—required to qualify for the service, a Dell account manager on a customer’s premises and a tool for benchmarking operations performance against typical performance levels at other companies.

“Using the [benchmarking] tool, it’s possible to compare your company to a peer group,” said Meyer. The tool can replace expensive surveys that customers would sometimes commission to track their performance, he said, adding that benchmarking continuously enables customers to diagnose opportunities and quickly take corrective action.

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“This is kind of a rebirth announcement. Dell has recognized it has not been able to convince the market in the past that it has this kind of mission-critical capability,” said Eric Rocco, an analyst at Gartner, in Stamford, Conn.

“In the enterprise, Dell’s capability to deliver service, at the level of HP or IBM, did not keep pace. There were some spotty issues, with delivery across the globe, due to its partner strategy for services and a commoditized approach. IBM and HP have never had to prove they can offer this support,” said Rocco.

Rocco said Dell’s offering a dedicated on-site services representative responds to a need found in many enterprises. “Customers want a named body to call and yell at, and they want the fastest response time possible,” he said.

Dell’s enterprise credibility notwithstanding, the company’s services business is now worth $5 billion annually, said Meyer. “We now have five command centers worldwide, which act as the front end for over 350 parts hubs,” he said.

The price of Platinum Plus is the same as that for the previous Platinum service, said Meyer. The exact price depends on the complexity of a customer’s environment.

Dell offers three service levels: Silver, Gold and Platinum. The Silver service level is priced at about 16 percent of the cost of the servers, Gold is priced at 26 percent and Platinum is in the “low 30s” percent of server value, said Meyer.

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