“Rip and replace” won’t do it for Dell

Dell’s strategy to take on the Canadian enterprise market will be to innovate using technology that’s already available.

According to Russell Holt, vice-president of Dell’s enterprise systems group in Round Rock, Tex.,

organizations are looking to standardize in their IT infrastructure, and that means using what’s already on the market — whether it be software or hardware — effectively.

If we look at just the situation of the industry in general and the economic conditions were facing,” says Holt, “it’s putting a lot of pressure on IT and there’s a huge focus on taking costs out of the business — how do you run your operations more efficiently?”

It some cases it’s running operations with fewer people, he says, or making resources already in place more productive.

“One thing we are seeing is that standard platforms are being considered now more than ever by IT professionals to deliver those cost reductions and better return on investment,” says Holt. “Standard platforms can deliver some of the same levels of performance but a whole new cost or price performance paradigms.”

Standard platforms, unlike proprietary systems, says Holt, tend to be more modular and scalable, so organizations can buy as their needs dictate and scale their environments.

“What dictates industry standard to us is those things that are either standards that are determined by a standards body — things like TCP or Ethernet — and also things that are defacto standards, things that have been widely adopted by the industry.” Holt cites Intel architectures and Microsoft operating system as examples, as well as the whole economy that goes with these systems. “That would open up to Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft — those kinds of applications that run well industry standard platforms.

“The bottom line is it’s those things that become more volume, those things are that adopted by more and more players in the industry that also lead to better efficiencies in service — because there’s more volume it tends to be more pervasive, therefore it’s easier to find Microsoft certified engineers, Oracle certified engineers, people that know Intel architecture-based servers.”

Holt says the best technology doesn’t always win, “it’s those that come in with the right business model and business solution and response to customer need that’s going to drive the acceptance rate.”

Holt says Dell is not so much interested in having its name stamped on the most innovative technologies but technology that’s available — keeping in mind that customers do not want to rip out what they already and start from scratch.

The value-add Dell brings with these technologies, says Holt, is their direct relationship with customers. However, they will be using partners to delivers services in Canada, says Don Kerr, director of Dell’s Canadian Advanced Systems Group.

Its target market includes large corporate enterprises and government departments. Kerr says the latter is very keen to have more standard systems in their IT infrastructure.

Another area Dell is focusing on is storage, through its relationship with EMC, which will see a new mid-range storage offering released early next month. Its storage play is also keeping with the industry standards motif.

“They’ve been one of the leaders in getting storage more commoditized,” says Alan Freedman, hardware and infrastructure research analyst with IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto.

He says the Dell/EMC partnership is helping both companies — EMC is getting more attention downstream, while Dell is getting traction in the enterprise space. “They are increasingly focused on selling the larger systems.”

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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