Dell and EMC: Better together

While the merger between Dell and EMC is a done deal, the two will only be officially integrated in February next year.

Jonas Bogoshi, EMC, and Douglas Woolley, Dell

Douglas Woolley is the Dell general manager and Jonas Bogoshi is the EMC country manager for Southern Africa. In the coming months, both men will be interviewed for the top job.

Woolley told reporters recently that until the businesses were integrated, they were looking at defining their go-to-market strategy. He said they would also be going after the ‘low hanging fruit’ as quickly as possible.

“If you look at Michael Dell and the PC industry, he really revolutionised -- at a commercial level rather than a technology level -- how he interacted with customers. From a supply chain perspective, we’ll now be the largest procurer of glass, processors, hard disks and flash drives in the market.

"We’re positioning ourselves very differently to some of our competitors who have decided to break up their businesses. Dell has always been about democratising IT and making it more accessible to customers and doing it at a cost-justified basis.”

He said while Dell had built up a good enterprise based business, it couldn’t leverage all the opportunities presented in large enterprise customers. With the merger, product managers would have the opportunity to grow in the business ‘without having to leave the ship’.

He also assured staff at both companies that they wouldn’t be retrenched, saying the Competition Commission had signed the deal on the basis there wouldn’t be any job losses due to the merger.

Wooley said the channel was still learning to work with Dell, which historically had had a very direct approach in dealing with customers, and ‘that legacy and stigma still holds’.

“I call it a stigma because it’s not reality. It’s purely historical, because we (Dell) become much more embracing of the channel over the last two years. It speaks to transparency and also giving the opportunities in terms of their routes to market. So at country level, we’ve cleaned up that act very nicely.”

Value of the channel
“You need different skill sets, you need integration, you need specialists, and as a vendor in a small market like South Africa, I can’t have 50 security specialists on the bench. I can’t have 50 SAP Hana skills, it doesn’t make sense.”

“The partner base creates tremendous value in pulling that together for us. I think the PC business was easy in dealing direct: you had to have an efficient supply chain, you had to have the right price and you had to have customer relationships. It was simple,” but once Dell began focussing on enterprise ‘there’s more complexity; you can’t do it all’.

Bogoshi said EMC had always been partner focussed and predictable and transparent.

When their partners came into a deal ‘they know how we’re going to behave, and there’s no ambiguity’.

Asked what the most challenging trend in the channel today was, and why, Bogoshi said the market was ‘tough’ with very few ‘chunky deals out there’.

“Because of that, many partners sell on price. They look at the easiest way to sell and that’s killing our business, because as EMC you can’t sell on price. That’s not our value proposition; we’re a high value provider.”

Selling on price also put pressure on margins, ‘and when that happens they unfortunately can’t afford to invest in skills. So it becomes a cycle that’s killing the business. What we’re trying to do is to get them to sell on value.”

Woolley said skills are also critical. “The complexity has also increased, so skills become a relevant discussion, especially if you’re not fuelling the engine with opportunities and deals. The whole industry is in a state of flux, and it will sort itself out. The nice thing about the IT industry is that it’s used to change.”

“We’ve got deep skills in areas, but there’s not enough broad skills. As a vendor that’s one thing I battle with, because we run out of runway very quickly. We just don’t have enough people. That’s the biggest inhibitor we have to get this transformational journey moving quicker.”

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