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Dell closes in on a very important anniversary

Kevin Peesker and Bill Rodrigues of Dell
Bill Rodriques with Dell Canada president Kevin Peesker

TORONTO – On October 30 of this year Dell will celebrate two years as a private company. Back in 2013, Michael Dell’s $24.4 billion leveraged buyout deal was the talk of the industry. This deal was heavily criticized as any other IT deal would be in this industry. But hindsight being 20/20 Dell by the end of next month has every right to celebrate the anniversary given the internal factors of how the company operates today and what has occurred with its rival competitors.

At the 3rd annual Dell Canada Partner Summit in Toronto CDN had an opportunity to interview Bill Rodrigues, the Dell President of North American and VP of Global Sales, about the impact of going private and what it means to the channel.

Rodriques said these past two years have been more exciting to him personally than his past 16 years at the Round Rock, Tex.-based company.

“Becoming private means being simpler. My experience now is that we have one primary thing to focus on and that is the customer. This makes things simpler because we know what to do for the customer,” he said.

And, being simpler, again in hindsight, might be more of an advantage to Dell today than it was two years ago. The market, according to Rodriques has become more challenging than last year and definitely since the Windows XP migration. Couple that with the decline in oil prices hurting the Canadian market has put more stress on vendors and partners in IT.

But Dell today is hiring more people and the reason for that is because the vendor needs better coverage, not just in Canada but throughout North America. Rodriques said this coverage is necessary for acquiring more customers and channel partners.

“From a partner perspective, they should not be nervous. Us hiring is good news. It spells good news for the channel. These new people do not know everything and can’t sell everything for the customer, but gain intimate knowledge of the customer and figure out the best solution. So when I talk to partners; I know you prefer a scenario where here’s a rep to help you develop new opportunities with 100 accounts instead of here are 100 accounts have at it,” he added.

CDN asked Rodriques was there any one moment in these past two years when he knew the privatization strategy was working and the right course of action for the company.

Rodriques answered it this way: “Customers have spoken to me and said they definitely noticed something different about us. The people calling on them compared to other vendors are very consistent on the strategy and have not deviated off of it.”

Why is that the case? Well Rodriques said Dell is no longer tied to a 90-day evaluation anymore. The company still operates on a 90-day internal cadence, but there are no longer any external distractions.

What has changed from a partner point of view in the last two years? “I can say, consistently, now because I do not have an external dynamic any longer that Dell can make changes in the strategy based on opex or other issues that are not driven by an external measure. Partners have a value proposition with customers and they are heavily involved with them. We think together we can do even better. There is no way we would have gotten into so many partner deals without going private. It went from zero to tens of millions of dollars every quarter in the enterprise business.”