Michael Dell fields tough questions from channel partners

AUSTIN, TEX. – About 1,000 solution providers got an opportunity to pick the brain of Dell CEO Michael Dell at the 2015 Dell World event.

As to be expected most of the questions Michael Dell fielded from solution provider executives was on next steps after the massive $67 billion acquisition of EMC. But he was also asked to give his views on the HP separation, the channel and of all things diversity in the workforce.

Here are Michael Dell’s responses. The following is an edited transcript.

Michael Dell on the imminent HP separation…

HP is a great VMware partner and we like that. I have to be a diplomat here. If you step back and look just at scale in this industry with the X86 business; volume in the client business has shrunk and you risk becoming not as nearly relevant as you were before. Customer want end-to-end solutions and there is an explosion of devices. This is the wrong time to disconnect from nodes. It will be more important going forward and I am happy to have a position and strategy that is different from other people. My point is we will find ourselves with a strong hand. We will compete as always. Our client business is gaining share in the last 11 quarters. And, we are gaining share in data centres. We are well positioned in all cloud stacks with Azure and Open Stack. I will tell you this it would be much harder to take the step we did with EMC last week without the channel we have built in the last eight years.”

Michael Dell on diversity…

“It’s easy to make a diversity decision and build a unique team. Business is tough already without wanted to overlook anyone.”

Michael Dell on EMC’s decision to reduce distribution partners…

“We have a channel and distribution friendly strategy. We don’t control EMC today for starters until the acquisition is complete. VMWare will be an independent company, but EMC will not be independent. I don’t know enough about those decisions, but we will get into that as we plan out the integration.”

Michael Dell on potentially making Dell the No. 3 player in IaaS behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure…

“Thanks for the suggestion. I’m kind of bored after last week and I do need a new project. Let me give you some perspective. There are about 160 million workloads and around 10 to 15 million of that is public cloud. About 30 million is not virtualized for whatever reason. The big portion is virtualized workloads and the interesting thing there is the percentage of on-premise versus off. The on-premise is still growing more. Everything is going to the public cloud sounds like the PC is dead saying from a few years ago. This is not happening. The answer is hybrid cloud and with software management and security out of the 2nd platform the silos and quagmires of the data centre will go away. I see the gap closing with things such as hyper converged and we need to attack that opportunity.”

Michael Dell on VCE…

“We will not screw up the VCE business. There will be many clouds in the future and EMC and VMWare have great assets that we can grow.”

Michael Dell on what drives him…

“This is the most fun you could ever have. I get inspired by what people can do with technology. I have a front row seat in that. IT used to be about driving efficiencies in business. Now its about the digital transformation. So any company can be a digital company that can change the world for students, patients and business. It’s a great time. We are on offense an if I can’t do this anymore I would be depressed.”

Michael Dell on the future of RSA and SecureWorks…

“One’s a great business product and the other is a great service. I would also put in there SonicWall and Quest Software. The combination is awesome. With security you need depth and lets not forget about AirWatch. There is a big security challenge today and its not getting any easier. Customers says it’s a high priority.

Michael Dell on the CDW partnership…

“We had a partnership with CDW for some time in the nine-digit range. We have a clear journey to grow the channel program and that’s not a big surprise. If you consider the EMC deal, we could not have done that without who we have in the channel. CDW will help us with EMC. Both deals occurred on the same day but I want you all to know that was a total coincidence. There is no connection with EMC and CDW.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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