As the technology world casts its eyes to The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, host of this week’s EMC World 2016, they do so amidst a changing channel climate.
Forget product launches and solutions, for the Australian partners descending on Sin City this week, only one word matters; Dell.
In keynoting in front of potentially 13,000 new partners and customers, Dell CEO Michael Dell is widely expected to educate the industry on the tech giant’s impending $US67 billion acquisition, an acquisition that will shape the future direction of the channel both locally and globally.
As reported by ARN, the merger has faced financial hurdles along the way, leading to streams of speculation and rumours around how two titans of tech can join forces without disruption.
While Michael Dell isn’t expected to reveal all about the future direction of the combined company, Dell Chief Integration Officer Rory Read, alongside EMC Chief Operating Officer Howard Elias will provide an update on the business integration strategy.
“Will this be the last EMC World? And will EMC loose its flair?” asks one major Australian EMC partner, who requested not to be named by ARN.
“But I don’t think Dell will showcase much of its technologies, and I believe the channel will be left waiting for clarity on what the merger will look like going forward.”
As explained to ARN, “true partners” of EMC in Australia already have a “basic understanding” of how the deal will play out at a local level, but for the generic channel, a more high level message will have to suffice for the time being.
In speculating on Michael Dell’s strategy for the conference, the unnamed partner believes an explanation around the future of VMware will remain off the table, despite ongoing media speculation that the virtualisation specialists will be sold off in the coming months.
“This won’t be discussed, but it will be interesting to see how the market responds with having VMware under the Dell banner,” the partner speculated. “There’s a lot of speculation in the channel about the sale of VMware, but obviously this won’t be mentioned at the conference.
“Next year, I think Dell will become quite aggressive and will face a battle with Cisco in the hardware market, and Microsoft in the Cloud and software space.”
As teased by Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman earlier in the year, the multi-billion dollar merger has allowed rival vendors to capitalise on the complexity and confusion of the deal.
“In the last quarter, we had about 107 deals that we actually took from Dell and EMC, whether they were partner deals or customers,” Whitman told CNBC.
“We’re capitalising on the fact there's a lot of integration challenges and a lot of things going on at Dell and EMC. I think we've got another good year and a half to two years to capitalise on that but I would say fundamentally, these two companies have taken entirely different strategies.”
But despite vendors naturally attempting to stick the boot into the deal, most local partners believes that in reality, this has been exaggerated.
“For BEarena specifically, no,” BEarena Managing Director, Darren Ashley, said. “We’ve always had a clear go to market, and the merger has had zero direct affect.
“If anything it will bring benefits through some of the downstream developments that have occurred in terms of increased product portfolio, and services opportunities.”
For Ashley, in speaking exclusively to ARN, channel interest at EMC World 2016 lies in developments around Hybrid Cloud, and how both companies plan to take on such a difficult technical challenge.
“Can they create a simple to use toolset that will enable customers to leverage the best of the public Cloud offerings, coupled with Cloud-economic on premises infrastructure?” Ashley asked.
Having attended Dell World 2015 six months ago, Ashley witnessed firsthand when Michael Dell spoke of the opportunities the combined entities would have in terms of reach and footprint, which in turn translates into buying power to not only continue to reduce the cost of product, but also to be able to invest heavily in development to keep the Dell and EMC brands ahead of the competition.
“With their traditional rivals largely in decline, it’s a sentiment I still agree with,” he added. “It’s an exciting time in the industry. The sheer volume of change both organisationally, and technically is something we have not seen for around a decade.
“I am sure EMC will seek to clarify a number of their go to market strategies, as with a number of new products in the mix now I have seen some confusion about future direction.”
James Henderson will be on the ground in Las Vegas as a guest of EMC.