Michael Sharun and Kevin Connolly, who run the two divisions of the Dell EMC business in Canada, review the year’s achievements from a Canadian perspective.
Today, Dell Technologies is celebrating the first anniversary of Dell and EMC coming together in a single organization. The company is stressing the theme of successful integration. In this context, this means not just unifying the two companies, but integrating Dell, EMC, and the EMC federation companies in a systematic go-to-market strategy, on both the direct and channel sides. It’s a strategy that the company also says has worked to good effect in Canada.
“This merger has been very well received by our customers in Canada,” said Michael Sharun, President of Dell EMC Canada’s Enterprise Division. “On the enterprise side, companies see value in the entire lifecycle of IT. They are looking to do business with fewer suppliers, and looking for more from each of them.”
This trend shows itself in significantly increased deal sizes since the merger.
“The consumption from our customers has become considerably larger, and the size of transactions significantly larger,” said Kevin Connolly, who took over as Dell EMC Canada Commercial head – the other side of the Canadian business – in July. “It’s exciting to see this, from a cultural perspective. We are seeing deals that go from laptops to cloud workloads and everywhere in between. The amount of cross-sell has become pretty dramatic. People who were legacy EMC customers are looking at our client products now. In this respect, I would give the first year an A+.”
A good example of this was the one hard news announcement around the event. In one of the largest non-government contracts ever inked by Dell Technologies or either of its predecessors, GE has signed a multi-year commitment to use Dell infrastructure and end-user computing solutions to support GE’s digital transformation efforts. The agreement makes Dell the primary IT infrastructure supplier for GE.
GE was a major EMC infrastructure customer before the Dell acquisition, but Sharun pointed out that this new deal reflects all the Dell Technologies components, including both traditional Dell gear and key offerings from former EMC Federation companies, especially Pivotal.
“GE is making a big commitment to Dell Technologies,” he said. “They are a major customer from the Pivotal side in terms of app development with Cloud Foundry, and also the traditional Dell product line as well.
Sharun said that even though the Enterprise and Commercial divisions in Canada are managed separately, the systematic operational planning between the two divisions and the other Dell Technologies companies like VMware and Pivotal has really picked up over the past year.
“When we were separate companies, and even when we started a year ago, we didn’t see each other much in either space,” he said. “Dell was public sector and commercial. EMC was enterprise. Michael Dell made a conscious decision to bring all the businesses, including the old EMC Federation businesses, much closer. We now have meetings here with people from all the different lines of business deciding on RSA, Pivotal, VMware and how we will be interacting with them.”
Even in the relatively conservative Canadian market, Sharun said that the Pivotal Cloud Foundry application development platform is being widely adopted by traditional EMC customers, and is one of the reasons for larger deal sizes.
“Organizations now understand they have to compete at a global scale, and to do that, they need to do things quicker,” he said. “Pivotal Cloud Foundry lets them cycle through application development much more quickly, but a magnitude higher. All these customers are all now very interested in Pivotal because everyone wants to do this form of development.”
Although Pivotal is still rare outside the enterprise in Canada, Connolly said that is beginning to change, as it has already in the U.S.
“They are dropping into the midmarket space in terms of pricing and capabilities,” he said. “Before I moved up to Canada. I saw many small to medium sized companies there investing in Pivotal. I worked with a credit union that was engaging them! I believe we will get some scale going with Pivotal in the mid market in Canada.”
Connolly, who had worked at EMC since graduating in 1993, said the more integrated sales approach more commonly associated with the enterprise is being practiced in the Commercial unit.
“It’s all around more complex selling, not selling commodities,” he said. “It runs from selling laptops and desktops over to 14G servers and Virtustream. I think we will be really successful up here in Commercial. Selling more complex sales processes does help. I feel really good about our company’s message.”
Sharun said that now that all the noise following the acquisition and the changes that were made has quieted down, it’s now all about refining how they go to market.
“We will continue to change things around how we evolve as an organization,” he said. “All the different businesses have teams that support the whole country and that’s really important. So are our partners, who represent everything to their customers, and have helped in terms of simplicity of message. We will continue to tweak things as the market evolves. If we don’t, we will fall off the list. We have to move quickly and stay ahead of the competition. You will see some unique ways of going to market going forward.”
The company in Canada is also basking in the glow of the global metrics Dell Technologies has also released to mark the anniversary.
“Dell Technologies has paid down $9.5 billion of the debt incurred in taking the company private,” Sharun said. While a good chunk of that came from divesting three assets of legacy Dell, not all of it did.
“There was still a lot of paydown on top of the business unit sales,” he stated.
Dell Technologies has also re-emphasized that it is continuing to invest $4.5 billion in R&D annually, and Sharun took umbrage with critics who have pointed out that the figure is not proportionally high when compared to company revenues.
“It’s still more money than what anybody else in the industry is spending,” he said.