Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2002 (Revised April 2007)

Dell Computers (A): Field Service for Corporate Clients

by Frances X. Frei, Amy C. Edmondson and Corey B. Hajim

Abstract

Explores the highly successful PC and low-end server manufacturer's entry into the large-scale server market in the United States. A key difference of this new market is the intense service element required to support the larger hardware. Specifically, the industry standard is to have a technician onsite with a required part within four hours of problem diagnosis. This type of service presents a problem for Dell, as its potential customers are widely dispersed throughout the United States. Should Dell create an in-house field service team to ensure service quality and maintain control of its customer relationships or outsource the field service to a third-party provider? Complicating the issue is the presence of IBM, the biggest player in the large-scale server market.

Keywords: Hardware; Customer Relationship Management; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Service Operations; Business or Company Management; Emerging Markets; Problems and Challenges; Service Delivery; Computer Industry; United States;

Citation:

Frei, Frances X., Amy C. Edmondson, and Corey B. Hajim. "Dell Computers (A): Field Service for Corporate Clients." Harvard Business School Case 603-067, October 2002. (Revised April 2007.)