Dell wants to be more than a hardware vendor

Dell needs to add on software management systems to go with the servers they sell.

The news last week that Dell signed an agreement to acquire Everdream, a SaaS (Software as a Service) vendor for remote management of desktops, was further evidence of a once phenomenally successful high-tech company trying to change its product offerings to satisfy the new and more complex requirements of its enterprise customers and to return to its former glory.

There is no doubt that Dell recognized at least a year or two ago that just selling hardware products wasn't going to be good enough.

"They need to have a more comprehensive solution to answer a client's service needs," said Ian Brown, a senior analyst in the IT Services Practice at Ovum.

Brown says the acquisition of Everdream and SilverBack Technologies, a remote server management company, will give Dell a new opportunity to "grow their share of the wallet."

But it goes deeper than that.

Ever since Hewlett Packard surpassed Dell as the largest seller of computing hardware, it seems Dell got the message that the only way to expand was to recognize the existence of a far more complex computing environment and that its customers need more than just commodity hardware from its vendors.

Fact is, today's users have much greater access than in the past to a wide range of applications due mainly to the fact that many more business processes have been turned into applications that employees need to access, said Brown.

"Organizations are now opening up to a much wider world. With online access to a Web layer, the complexity of what IT has to provide from the data center to the desktop has changed," says Brown.

HP has always been an enterprise company that dealt with services and manageability of all aspects of systems. Dell, on the other hand, was aware of that but kept its focus on products, never going much beyond selling an extended warranty.

The truth is, says Brown, that Dell realizes it has to be more than a "box shifter." Dell needs to add on software management systems to go with the servers they sell.

However, as it starts to take on more services and act more like a service provider, will Dell be able to take just half a step? Can it offer remote management, even if it encompasses desktops and servers without also offering the middleware every enterprise now requires to connect to back-end systems and deal with migration issues around legacy systems the way HP, IBM, and Sun have traditionally done?

Brown says it is unlikely that Dell will ever offer the kinds of services of those companies offer, but it will try to make customers see that the glass is half full by playing up the fact that it doesn't have to sell a customer legacy equipment and that it has no vested interest in getting a customer to spend on high-end systems.

Brown believes there is a place for Dell in the middle as a company that says it can supply the best value infrastructure available and the software to manage that infrastructure.

Time will tell or maybe Brown is reading the cards incorrectly. Maybe the acquisition of Everdream and SilverBack is only the beginning. Dell is certainly not a cash poor company, and next year, Michael Dell may surprise a lot of doubters in the industry by making a play for a major system integrator, either in the US or offshore.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ephraim Schwartz

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?