Dell marches channel forward with "device to datacentre" strategy

Dell marches channel forward with "device to datacentre" strategy

Leverages VMware, Nutanix and Microsoft partnerships with end-to-end strategy

Dell managing director A/NZ, Angela Fox.

Dell managing director A/NZ, Angela Fox.

Dell is forging ahead with a "device to datacentre" strategy that leverages technology partners VMware, Nutanix and Microsoft, while seeking to expand its channel-led business.

While other companies, such as IBM and HP move away from an end-to-end approach, Dell is embracing a broad portfolio of products while retaining one service contract for customers.

The company is pushing a Future-Ready IT strategy focusing on Software defined everything, end-to-end security with an open standards philosophy.

Future-ready IT is based on the belief that enterprise technology – regardless of the purpose of the solution or the vendor that sold it to the business – should simply work together.

Every bit of hardware, software or service you invest in should integrate seamlessly into businesses existing environment, and support generations of technology to come, according to Dell.

Dell A/NZ managing director Angela Fox told ARN the company had emerged as a more flexible company since Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners successfully took the company from a publicly-held entity to a private company in a $US24.8 billion private equity buyout.

This was precipitated by seven months of conflict with activist investors Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management.

"We are now uniquely positioned and capable of going from the device to the datacentre," Fox said. "One of the biggest things post-privatisation has been the fact that we have had the ability to step back at the executive level and be very clinical about the investments we make," she said.

"You will see Michael, in his leadership of the team, make some significant investments around research and development, significant increases in what we are spending in that space.

"As we reflect on our acquisition strategy, taking the benefit of those acquisitions and saying how do we actually step back and integrate that into the design of the product we are bringing to market.

"How do we actually get the value of all of those acquisitions ,when you are not presenting them as bespoke individual products."

She said the company was trying to get the message out there to customers about the breadth of its portfolio, with a focus on security, storage and networking.

"We're a humble bunch and we know where are capabilities are and we know where they aren't," she said. "Dell's heritiage is still very much around open standards, around that agility piece, around practical innovation.

"Overall the strategy remains the same, but privatisation has definitely brought a new focus, invigoration and entrepreneurial spirit driven from the top. But at the end of the day, we remain very humble.

"It's about maintaining the customers we have and continuing to show them the value we bring to them as we build the breadth of our portolio, as well as being focused on winning new business."

Despite claims the company is ramping up its investment in research and development, Dell managing director of enterprise, A/NZ, John McCloskey, said innovation was not going to occur from just one company going forward.

"It going to come from many companies," he said.

"Having a standards-based approach to your technology allows customers to get the benefit of whatever is going to come down track over the next few years and that has served us really well over the last ten years.

"Open standards is the second pillar. When innovation becomes prevalent in the market place we can tap into that going forward."

He said the companies modular approach to architecture was also key to the company's strategy.

"We have no legacy to protect and that's kind of a brash statement when we are the number one server provider in APJ, he said.

"When you look at terabytes shipped we are nunmber one in storage globally.

"Sure we have a legacy to protect but it's a legacy systems in standards-based architecture, so we will not lock our customers in, we will give them choice and that's really a cornerstone to our partnerships."

Dell is also making a major play around software-defined networking and storage.

"All of research and development and partnerships are really around that (Software-defined everything) now," McCloskey said.

"Many of our customers will continue to buy storage and networking as single silos and add to their capability and that's great.

"As we go forward, we see convergence really developing at a rapid pace."

Nutanix is a "great" OEM partner going forward, according to McCloskey.

"That is giving us great capability in the VDI space to really accelerate VDI deployments in our customer environments," he said.

The company also partners Nexenta and deploys VMware's "Cloud-in-box" EVO Rail product.

McCloskey said Del was is "absolutely" at the forefront and the leader in SDN.

"We were the first to market with Cumulus and others have now followed. We were also first to market Big Switch.

"The disaggregation of the software layer has been really a key stepping stone for us in taking the lead in the software-defined networking," he said

"Sofware-defined networking is key to us going forward - we are gong to knock down the doors of Ciscos and HPs and Junipers going forward."

However, the main advantage Dell has over competitors, according to McCloskey, is the fact that it can offer one service contract across an end-to-end portfolio.

"We will have our FX [converged architecture] capability and our own software-defined solutions in the market place, but we want to give our customers choice and that's why we partner with Nutanix and VMware and Microsoft.

"Sometimes it as simple as one support contract. One throat to choke, we're with you all the way."

He said Dell would be the only company in the market with end-to-end solutions following the HP Split.

"That's going to be a massive play for us going forward," he said. "Desktop, notebook and storage sales are still increasing for us while convergence and virtualisation is happening around the world. One support contract in place for the entire environment. It is as simple as that."

The channel is also becoming increasingly important for the company, with lines of channel business growing faster than Dell-led business.

"Our partnerships with channel are going to very important to us," he said. "Organically we are not going to have the ability to scale to reach the vast set of customers out there.

"That's an important part of our growth structure going forward. The way we partner with customers today will not differ from the way we partner with the channel, like a Di Data.

"We see the channel as instrumental and we don't see our solutions undermining business, we see them as complementary going forward."

Networking will be a key focus in terms of channel growth.

"The charter to my team is bring on more capability in the networking space," McCloskey said.

"That's kind of key for us going forward. If I had more focus on bringing on more channel partners. It would be in networking.

"But we are committed to growing channel business in all aspects of our portfolio."

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Tags Nutanix and MicrosoftAngela FoxA/NZDell managing director of enterpriseVMwareJohn McCloskey is a channel management ecosystem that automates all major aspects of the entire sales, marketing and service process, including data tracking, integrated learning, knowledge management and product lifecycle management.

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