Good #DellWorld summary and take from @benkepes

Good wrap-up so far:

It’s a long list of news but I’m left wondering how substantive it will actually be for Dell as a company. I understand their new strategy of being a neutral player and offering a plethora of cloud services – but all these announcements run the risk of creating mass confusion for the customer base – with Dell’s sales force having to articulate a value proposition that differentiates between all these different partnerships, customers could well be left scratching their heads. And it’s a short step from scratching ones head in confusion to running to a vendor who can tell a compelling single product story. 

That’s not to say that Dell’s strategy is wrong, but rather that I’d expect to see something powerful to pull it all together. enStratius (and Dell”s previous acquisition of Gale Technologies) were good starts – but some meaty products that move the company up the stack, deliver an interesting DevOps story and perhaps leverage all the buzz around containers right now would be interesting. 

The next year or two are critical for Dell’s future. This week’s announcements are interesting, but less transformational that I would have hoped for. Time will tell if it’s enough.

Good #DellWorld summary and take from @benkepes

What’s the plan at Dell? Questions for #DellWorld

Dell mola

Going into DellWorld, there are a handful of high-level questions – well, really, statements in the form of questions – that’d love to hear Dell’s reaction to. They all really revolved around “what’s the plan now?”:

How is Dell going to run things differently now, day-to-day?

From what I can tell (reading press releases), the strategy is the same as the the last 2-3 years, which is to become more of a one stop shop for hardware, software, and services – sort of “IBM Junior,” and I mean that in a highly complementary way. So, of the strategy remains the same, the change must be operational, right?

“Michael talks about the reason for doing the privatization is to be able to take risks, to be able to go do things you know are important, to do all those things that you can’t necessarily do with Wall Street watching all the time.” –Tim Carroll of Dell

My commentary: to be fair, the executive team (those reporting to Michael Dell) has had tremendous turn-over in recent years, so perhaps these things are in effect. The parallel question here is why Wall Street allows Amazon, Google, and Apple to focus on growth and low profits, but not Dell (that is, Dell had to go private)? It’s not like HP and IBM are being rewarded by The Street either. When I was an analyst previously, at RedMonk, I certainly liked the ambition of adding a software division, which they certainly did (and I was lucky to be part of working for Dell for the past two years before going back to analyst-land).

How is Android going to figure into client, if at all?

Is there room to profit in there after Samsung ? (This isn’t a trap answer: the best way to profit [all Dell should care about at the moment] – never mind top-line revenue or marketshare [same thing, in this context, really] – may not be Android).

My commentary: Dell came out with Android tablet recently (I haven’t had the chance to try it but I’ve heard good things) , but until that it’s been very spare in the Android department after it (tragically, in my opinion) did away with the streak, rather, non-Windows department. There’s also, it feels like, more experimentation going on with non-Windows machines .

If we think about the equation “IT - SaaS = what?” , what does the “what” equal?

This equation is key for Dell (Cisco, Oracle, HP, Microsoft, and IBM as well, in that order) because I’m pretty sure that’s Dell’s future on their current strategic trajectory, that is: selling on-premises IT. Dell has no SaaS, really, (there’s Boomi which is great, sure, and some partnering engagements, PocketCloud, etc.) or ambitions there in a massive way – if they do have larger plans, that’s big news.

My commentary: what’s left is software development (companies writing their own software to sell as a SaaS or to support their business) and large enterprises, e.g., JPMC writing and supporting their own mobile [retail] banking app)…two areas Dell does traditionally doesn’t lead in.

I actually think there’s lots of potential for Dell. What’s important for them is to execute the crap out of the next few years.