Privatization a boon, says Dell Canada executive

Dell Canada officials say the privatization of the company three weeks ago means it will get stronger as a provider of end-to-end solutions.

That was the message sent Tuesday to customers at an event in Toronto where the company’s client, server, storage and networking products were on display.

Company founder Michael Dell is still in charge and has 74 per cent of the company, Conor Duffy, Dell Canada’s principal solutions architect for medium-sized businesses, said in an interview there.

“Just by sheer nature of him being at the helm will allow faster decision-making – and I believe better decision-making ultimately – and that will accelerate this strategy that we have. It’s not a (company) transformation. We’ve been on this journey for close to a decade to turn this company into a solution provider.”

In Canada, he said, Dell is still looking for more solution partners.

Dell was for years a desktop and laptop specialist before branching out. But as business spending slumped following the 2008 recession, and consumer spending is increasingly going to two products Dell doesn’t have, or are unremarkable – like smartphones and tablets – it turned to private equity to take it out of the shareholder spotlight.

It’s still a U.S. $60-billion revenue company, Duffy pointed out – and 60 per cent of that comes from the sale of client devices, he acknowledged. On the other hand, he said, a lot of profit is increasingly coming from server, storage and networking products.

Dell and Hewlett-Packard Co. have one thing that differentiates themselves from other business enterprise hardware/software companies – they can offer end-to-end solutions.

Duffy insisted Dell “is better positioned than any vendor” because its line-up is more comprehensive – in particular, he said, in network security products.

“To my knowledge HP does not have substantial intellectual property in firewall technology and security.”
Not through its TippingPoint division? he was asked.

“Perhaps, but I haven’t looked at (market research firm) IDC. I don’t believe they have anything that comes close to SecureWorks,” he said, referring to Dell’s managed security service.

And while some observers may feel Dell’s product line needs to be pruned to make it more efficient, Duffy said the broad range has advantages: organizations can order everything from one supplier that has been integrated, with one customer support number to call.

Assembling hardware and software from different companies just makes things more complex, he said. “This industry is wrought with unnecessary complexity,” he added. “And a lot of services to get in all installed and configured.”

“The more you spend with me the more you save.”

Nor will Dell give up making client devices because they are part of the end-to-end strategy.

“The client business is not about how profitable it is or not: it’s a requirement for the solution for the customer,” he said. “They will always need desktops and laptops.”

As for Dell’s mobile strategy, Duffy said the company enables corporate mobility through its presence in the data centre through virtual desktop solutions and security software that locks down endpoints. He also noted that Dell has just refreshed its Venue Android and Windows tablets.

In infrastructure, he said Dell is actively behind the emerging software-defined networking technology. Networking equipment is one of the fastest growing lines of business within Dell, he added.

“Being a more streamlined organization (after privatization) with a single vision, a single guy to make decisions, is all going to allow us to accelerate and out-compete the market.”

“I believe we have the potential (in Canada) to be an organization that’s three or four times the size we are today.

“It’s just a matter of time.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including ITBusiness.ca. Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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