Dell, the well known manufacturer of personal computers, has been quietly acquiring companies and building a division capable of offering a complete range of services and products geared towards helping retailers be competitive in the 21st century.
Visitors to the Dell.com/retail page will be impressed by the wide variety of solutions that Dell is providing to meet the needs of retailers. Having been a Dell customer for years, I've been watching more and more retail products and services appear in its catalogs over the last two decades.
Areas of the Dell Retail Solutions line include:
Point of sale systems and equipment designed to meet the demands of rigorous retail environments. Installing computers that are designed and hardened for retail is a smart business decision, as these machines are often used 12 to 24 hours a day, in dusty, hot areas. Dell's OptiPlex XE, for example, is designed to run in enclosed spaces, at ambient temperatures of up to 45°C (113°F) and up to 55°C (131°F) with the optional ducting kit. To round out its retail product line, Dell has partnered with peripheral providers like APG Cash Drawer, Epson receipt printers, Cherry Keyboards and Logic Controls.
Digital Signage – Dell's division has over 10 years of experience installing digital signage solutions which offer dynamic content delivery. Benefits of digital signage include being able to promote upsells and impulse purchases, modernizing the appearance of your business locations, creating highly targeted promotions and messaging on demand, automatically updating the signage based on sales results, inventory levels or in-store locations. Additionally, content can be controlled from headquarters and thousands of monitors can be updated simultaneously.
Digital Surveillance – which also includes solutions for traffic counting, monitoring and visual notification and verification of unusual transactions like Voids, and no-sales.
SecureWorks – handles PCI compliance for retailers as well as vulnerability assessments, security information management, log monitoring and management, threat intelligence, security and risk consulting.
Boomi – a cloud product that integrates data from disparate applications to provide a centralized data source for business information and analytics. Can combine data from such as Microsoft Dynamics, Intuit Quickbooks, Salesforce to produce integrated views of company activity.
KACE – Tools to manage a distributed network of remote devices and systems. The product allows users to easily deploy and manage systems across multiple stores from a central location, handling upgrades, software distribution, and asset management, security and patching, systems recovery. Remarkably, Dell reports that 62% of Dell KACE 1000 customers achieved a positive ROI in less than six months. At a recent installation in the Northeast, Dell KACE was selected by Redner's Market Inc with superior results. Here's what Redner's had to say " As a retail organization, we opted to leverage a robust systems management solution, such as that from Dell KACE, to help achieve PCI compliance because of some of the integrated capabilities like patching," said Nick Hidalgo, director of IT for Redner's Market Inc., an employee-owned company that operates 39 Warehouse Markets and 13 Quick Shoppes throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. "We use the Dell KACE K1000 appliance to efficiently manage about 500 POS systems, including our registers and back office systems, to perform automated security updates, monitor systems for our compliance policies and test and remediate vulnerabilities. As a result, we've cut down our management time from approximately two hours to five minutes. Our compliance-qualified security assessors are thrilled with the results. Dell KACE is probably the best investment we've ever made for the functionality we get in return. We use it every day and we wouldn't be able to operate the same way without it."
Dell also partners with Value Added Resellers and Independent Software Vendors. We checked in with a few companies to see who was working with Dell;
Will Atkinson of CAP Retail , - "For CAP, Dell brings a strong and experienced platform to enable our software products. Their dedicated sales and support structure is helping us reach a new customer set. As a household name name from their PC division, Dell is helping us bring POS to customers in a fresh way." CAP Retail is a Dell ISV Alliance Partner.
Sean Connors of POS Prophet Systems, a Dell Premier Partner, had this to say "We've been using Dell since 2001 for all our PC needs. We have been pleased with the service and support and ease of ordering. Dell makes the ordering process very simple by providing robust online tools to their Premier partners. Our multi-site enterprise customers utilize our data center services which consist of Dell rack servers and blade servers in multiple data centers.”
Natasha Chater of Celerant Technology, Inc , a Dell Direct Partner, - "The Dell partner program allows us to provide quality hardware with advanced peripherals to our clients, and we are happy to have been a partner for many years."
With all of the investment that Dell has made into the retail space, they are sure to be a key retail industry player for a long time to come.
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Written by Craig Aberle