Dell positions software as a key to channel growth

SAN FRANCISCO – It’s been a busy year for John Swainson, the president of Dell Software, who just passed his first anniversary on the job.
When he joined the company had US$100 million in software revenue, with 500 people in the software organization. That has now grown to US$1.5 billion, and 6,000 people, thanks to the acquisition of companies like Quest Software.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in building a business,” Swainson said this week at an annual press and analyst briefing day. “We’ve started to now weave this together to make the notion of a solution that Dell’s been talking about for a couple of years real — the inclusion of software is the glue that ties together hardware and services.”

Many of the software offerings focus on helping customers move workloads from legacy systems to the cloud, he said, noting, “We have no legacy profit pools to protect.”

On the reseller side, the PartnerDirect program has also received some attention to reflect Dell’s expanded focus. The company has added software to the program, allowing software resellers to become certified partners with the opportunity to become Premier and Preferred Partners. Channel partners from the software companies Dell has acquired will move to the PartnerDirect program over the next few months. Dell is also offering service provider partners a new program designed specifically for them.

To drive its strategy to become an end-to-end IT provider, Dell announced a series of products and services here. Concentrating on the four key areas of security, mobility, big data, and cloud, the announcements spanned multiple product lines.

The company released refreshes of existing Kace management products and launched a third member of the family, the Kace 3000, which rounds out the portfolio with mobile device management. Also on the management front, a new version of Dell Wyse Cloud Manager adds Active Directory support to improve user management and allow single sign-on for Wyse thin clients.

Migration Manager for Exchange and Migration Manager for Active Directory, which help organizations move between versions of Exchange and Active Directory, also were refreshed to accommodate the latest versions of Microsoft’s products, including Office 365.

Handling big data got a boost from the release of version 2.0 of the Toad Business Intelligence suite, a BI product that came from Dell’s acquisition of Quest last year.

In the security realm, a new cloud edition of Dell Data Protection | Encryption and a new version of Dell ClearPass are squarely aimed at helping manage and protect BYOD devices.

And, Swainson said, “BYOD is a topic you will hear a lot more from us about.”

Jason Thomas, CIO and IT director of Green Clinic, a Ruston, La., healthcare facility, is counting on it. As physicians began bringing in their own mobile devices and demanding access to the network, he had to find a way to accommodate them without compromising security. Dell had already helped him build a VDI environment to support electronic records, and he was able to use Wyse PocketCloud, a remote desktop product for iOS and Android devices, to let them access their files securely and not compromise HIPPA compliance. However, he’s still looking for app containerization, which Swainson says is in the works.

Thomas’ BYOD solution has paid off in user satisfaction. “Physicians and staff now see IT as a partner,” he said, “not just geeks waiting in a dark closet for something to break.”

Looking at the day’s announcements Robin Bloor, chief analyst at The Bloor Group, said that. “in terms of the marketing story, this is the first construct after a year. It’s going to get a lot sharper later.

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Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner has been interpreting tech for businesses for over 20 years and has worked in the industry as well as writing about it, giving her a unique perspective into the issues companies face. She has both IT credentials and a business degree

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