Breaking new frontiers

Dell Software Group wants partners to play to their strengths and says it will depend heavily on top partners going forward, but it also needs solution providers that can sell up and down the product portfolio.

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Breaking new frontiers Kendra says Dell wants partners to play to their strengths.
By  Manda Banda Published  December 23, 2013

Dell Software Group wants partners to play to their strengths and says it will depend heavily on top partners going forward, but it also needs solution providers that can sell up and down the product portfolio.

Following the completion of its $24.9bn private equity buyout in October 2013, Dell has moved quickly to outline that it’s serious about its software business group. The vendor, which entered into the software segment after a string of strategic acquisitions, wants its channel partners to take advantage of the company’s broadened offerings that include hardware, services and software. The company is hoping that the new initiatives will see channel partners sell across its entire enterprise solutions portfolio.

Tom Kendra, vice president and general manager, Systems Management Software, Dell Software Group, said the company had and still has incredible hardware offerings complemented by services and end-user computing PCs. Kendra added that by bringing software into the business, the company realised that this was critical to the future progress of its transformation from a consumer device maker into an enterprise infrastructure vendor.

Consequently, said Kendra, in March 2012, Dell formed the Software Group with the sole purpose of complementing its hardware and services business, and to focus in three major IT areas that include: information management (around big data, analytics, BI and warehousing), security and systems management. “Every single customer I have met on this trip has talked to me about security. I am also the GM for the systems management business in Dell Software Group,” he said.

Kendra pointed out that the software group now has 6500 team members and $1.5bn of annual run rate revenues. “We have many products within the software group in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. We also have over a million customers worldwide,” he said. “We are a large software business that is happy to join the overall Dell Corp strategy and do believe that being able to provide a full set of solutions namely hardware, software and services to our partners will differentiate us and them in the Middle East market.”

Dell Software Group says the changes the company is rolling out are going to lead to ‘enormous’ new opportunities for partners as the company wants to works even more closely with partners to increase reach, coverage and grow sales.

Kendra explained that the company is developing the software business in the Middle East region in a couple of ways. He said prior to Dell acquiring Quest and SonicWall, many of the channel partners in the region were already familiar with those products. “After we bought the two companies in 2012, our partners were excited that Dell was now behind the brands for obvious reasons,” he noted.

He said these mergers allowed for more research and development (R&D) expertise and more linkage to the hardware and services solutions. “Our partners like StarLink are probably excited that Dell has done this and it gives them a full range of offerings. What we did was to start building enough local capacity and expertise for Dell software to include architects, security experts and business development staff and consultants that can work with StarLink, resellers and other distributors across the region to develop this business,” he said.

Kendra said the whole strategy aims to put together a strong base of products that are well-known and well accepted, increase the awareness level around the portfolio and help the resellers and distributors in the Middle East to build their businesses that would adopt a multi-pronged strategy to market.

He pointed out that rather than Dell hardware partners being pushed into the software business, most have embraced the Dell software offerings as a natural progression for their businesses. “I don’t think there is a partner on the planet, [I could be wrong as I have not talked to everyone of them], that doesn’t want to develop a robust software and services business because it is more revenue and margin,” he remarked. “So, every systems integrator and reseller that can figure out how to add software and services to their hardware would be thrilled and that’s where partners like StarLink and other distributors across the region can really help us.”

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