Dell EMC has completed its first year since starting the biggest technology merger in history, and it has only grown stronger.
“I think it’s nothing short of the beginning of a fourth industrial revolution, and the plot for us is being the essential infrastructure company.”
Michael Dell offered this comment to a recent media question. It lays out his vision in a succinct way: the world is changing and Dell EMC wants to be a big part of that future. Two years ago Dell revealed an ambitious plan to unite Dell and EMC, two giants, into the largest private tech company on the planet. Some expressed skepticism about this, not the least because major technology mergers do not have a good track record.
But a year after the formal merger began, comments are very different. Dell EMC has surfaced as a stronger company, better equipped to meet the needs of the fourth industrial revolution. Its messages of open ecosystems, hybrid cloud, converged hardware and consumer-driven technology have become reality – and the market knows this.
A Local Success Story
In South Africa, the merger also led to some worry as Dell and EMC started to combine their businesses under one roof. Would the market see the usual shedding of jobs, disruption of partners and general fallout that such mergers often cause? The answer is not at all, something the region’s General Manager, Doug Woolley, is very proud of:
“It is always a challenge to bring two cultures together, even if they share similar outlooks,” he said. “Over the past year, at a local level, we’ve managed to integrate the sales and product teams very well. On a technical support level there has also been a lot work to integrate the guys under one infrastructure and leadership. From a people perspective I am very happy.”
This is reflected in an incredibly low attrition rate. Very few people left either businesses – less than 5 percent. Not only were the companies able to retain their talent, but the combination has invigorated its workforce. Market share has started growing in key sectors and channel partnership signups have exploded. This latter momentum is in particular due to a new channel partner programme:
“The new partner programme is one of the better such programmes available to our resellers out there. Just in how we reward them for selling a broader range of technology, how we protect them in terms of the IP they bring to the table, in terms of certification, training, marketing funds… It’s one of the best I’ve seen even across vendors. It has been well received and has driven a lot of renewed enthusiasm in the channel. We have seen a definite uptick in partner registrations, and our revenue from partners has more than doubled.”
Some challenges remain. Locally Dell and EMC still operate as separate legal entities, which complicates matters, though they are in the process of being formalised as a single business. The two firms recently moved together into their new local headquarters and the first stages of the merger – creating a cohesive and focused workforce – has been a qualified success.
Helping Build SADC’s Future
The result, and suited to Michael Dell’s vision, is a technology company that walks the talk of the digital seachange, empowering customers to modernise and take advantage of new technologies such as cloud and connectivity. Locally Dell EMC is already the go-to vendor for companies and individuals looking to interrogate digital transformation, said Woolley:
“We are definitely riding that wave and having those conversations. Without sounding arrogant, I think we have positioned ourselves as the essential cloud infrastructure player. There is still, as an industry, work to do on how do we move effectively to the next level of cloud, and that is more around the application conversations. Dell EMC is very well positioned to have a meaningful conversation with customers on how do we cloudify their apps and get it on modern infrastructure.”
But Dell EMC is not just about infrastructure. It offers solutions in the software and consumer device spaces as well. Despite the PC market’s widely reported woes, Dell was one of few brands to not only increase its market share, but turn a healthy profit from PC sales.
This energy and momentum is evident across the business, both in market performance and visibility among customers, and it can be seen throughout the SADC territories. Woolley is particularly confident on those prospects:
“It’s one of our fastest growing regions. We will look at getting more potential investment for the SADC and Indian Island territories. We see a lot of upside, we see a lot of partners engaging with us and also a lot of customers having conversations. And we’ve had good, significant wins in the territory in the past six months. I am very happy with the rate of growth and potential there.”
Over the next year, Dell EMC will continue to consolidate its local operations as one business, help drive the message of digital transformation and engaging with the market to make this game-changing revolution a reality that forges Africa’s place as a world leader. The naysayers have been silenced by the proof of success: Michael Dell’s vision wasn’t only smart, but has turned out to be inspired.