Think “Dell” and you may think “PCs,” “servers,” or, even more broadly, “computer hardware.” If so, you are missing out on one of the biggest transformations going on among technology providers today as, over the last 5+ years, Dell has acquired multiple software companies and is using that intellectual property (IP) to drive its internal turnaround. In this sixth installment of my interview series with Brett Roscoe, General Manager, Data Protection for Dell Software, we discuss how these software acquisitions are fueling Dell’s transformation from a hardware provider into becoming a solutions provider.
Jerome: Dell has made a significant investment in software over the last few years and even now has a software division. While we have talked a little bit about appliances, most of our conversation has been about the software features that Dell now brings to the table. Can you walk me through some of the key components of Dell’s software portfolio and the offerings it has?
Brett: Absolutely. One of the things I will tell you right off the bat is that Dell has always been in the software business. Before it might have been disguised in some of the different business units across PCs, servers, storage and networking, but what is great about the software division at Dell now is it shows that the company truly has a focus on providing end-to-end solutions inclusive of software.
Creating a software division was a great way to consolidate the many software offerings the company had, and really focus on their development, marketing, sales, and most importantly, the integration of these products across the Dell portfolio.
It’s ironic because when I first came to Dell 10 years ago, the server, storage and networking groups were a very healthy, very big part of the company, but a lot of customers did not know that at the time and only thought of Dell as a PC company. That’s similar to what’s happening with software today. Software is critical part of what Dell does and a very healthy part of the company. Dell has moved more and more in the direction of solutions. As it moves more so in that direction, toward becoming a more complete IT provider, software is playing and will continue to play a bigger and bigger role.
To me, software is really the glue that holds the solution piece at Dell together. We can provide management infrastructure for your server and PC environment. We can provide data protection and data recovery capabilities across your application and your storage environment. Software piece is a big part of that.
We break our software business into five key categories.
- There’s data center and cloud management.
- There’s mobile workforce management which is a big investment area with some new products coming out from Dell.
- Our information management team is doing a lot of work around database, analytics and Big Data.
- There is data protection, which is obviously a big focus.
- Our security software.
All of the areas are what we would consider rapid growth areas for us. They really provide a great solution story for our portfolio and/or the different products across Dell. We continue to get better at having our teams work with Dell’s broader sales teams to provide the software expertise for customers who are looking for more software-centric solutions.
We have 6,000 team members globally, 1,600 software developers, and 2,500 sales teams that work with the broader sales organization at Dell. To give you an idea of the size and scope of Dell Software, 90 percent of the global 1,000 firms today are Dell software group customers.
This is something that people do not know very well … yet. The reality is that Dell has been in the software business for a long time. It’s certainly not a business we lack experience in. That said, I think right now we have a renewed focus on software and certainly a desire to grow this business and make it an even bigger part of Dell’s end-to-end solution set.
In Part VII of this interview series, Brett provides an in-depth explanation of Dell’s data protection portfolio.
In Part VIII of this interview series, Brett and I discuss the trend of vendors bundling different but complementary data protections products together in a single product suite.