For Dell, Asia is a matter of priorities
By Gabey Goh December 27, 2013
- Commits to emerging markets with increased investment
- Expansion strategy to be on a market-by-market basis
ONE key announcement that came out of Dell World, amidst the slew of new products and partnerships, is the company’s commitment to emerging markets.
Speaking to the press during the event, which took place from Dec 11-13 at the Austin Convention Centre in Texas, chief executive officer Michael Dell said that emerging markets in Asia have been some of the fastest growing segments of the company’s business “for the longest time.”
“We have been early and aggressive in all key markets in Asia and we continue to believe in the potential of those markets. Whatever Dell [Inc] does, from manufacturing to critical operations, we do it in Asia,” he said.
John Swainson, president of Dell Software, noted that during the Dell Solutions Summit 2013 hosted in Beijing in August, the company announced a series of product initiatives.
“Many of the companies we acquired hadn’t yet internationalised their offerings, because they previously didn’t have the support infrastructure in place to do so. That is one of the ways Dell can grow in emerging markets, by offering more products in the region that are market-ready.
“We are and will continue to be aggressive in these markets, and localising our solutions to meet the needs of each market in particular is important,” he said.
Dell’s now-public commitment to emerging markets, coupled with the freedom to look long-term thanks to being privatised, is welcome news to Joe Kremer (pic), Dell vice president, and president of Dell Australia, New Zealand and South Asia.
In a one-on-one interview with Digital News Asia (DNA) at Dell World, Kremer shared that with the company now private, there truly is a sense of excitement reverberating through the ranks and anticipation over what can be achieved when unencumbered.
“When you have a highly-engaged founder especially, it’s really helpful because customers and employees as well can see that and feel that we’re here for the long term; it builds trust and confidence,” he said.
Kremer said that in the coming months, enterprise customers and Asian markets can expect to hear a lot more from Dell, with the continued integration of its point products with new intellectual property.
“Dell has historically had a lot of point products, which we then integrate with services and software, but it’s all now coming together in a thoughtful end-to-end solution offering.
“Putting them all together, we have a value proposition that becomes market-leading and that’s different and new for Dell. That for me is the most interesting, moving forward,” he added.
Kremer admitted that the “fully integrated” Dell experience might take a little longer to hit Asia, with rollouts typically starting in the United States before launching in other markets.
“What you’re going to see rolling out rapidly would be our products and we’re seeing quite a bit of success with our software solutions. We’re rapidly ramping our investment in services as well,” he said.
Kremer claimed that the company is already seeing customers buying into more integrated solutions, especially from an app workload perspective, and Dell intends to further expand its Asian footprint with the offer of fully integrated solutions that are easy to deploy and manage.
Specific offerings he believes will be key for Asia include Dell’s Connected Security portfolio, which is intended provide new levels of protection and empower organisations to collectively gather, analyse, report and act in a proactive way when managing security threats.
The other is Dell’s enterprise mobility management (EMM) product, which is expected to be available in the United States during the first quarter of 2014.
It is designed to give customers a secure, managed environment for accessing enterprise data on multi-OS (operating system) smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops and clients – including thin, zero and machine-to-machine – regardless of who owns them.
Dell also is introducing container-based secure workspaces for employee-owned devices, which complement already established EMM-ready technologies.
The blueprint for Asia
When asked about how Dell intends to increase its business with Asian corporations that are typically conservative when it comes to spending on IT, Kremer pointed out that customers in the region would invest, especially in support of an app, after a positive initial experience.
“What’s key is that with the introduction of Dell’s full suite of end-to-end solutions, it becomes an entirely different conversation with customers. Our approach is centred on a consultative method, we don’t just sell you the product but also consult on best practices and support,” he said.
However, Dell already has some big wins in the region to its name, with Kremer highlighting a project that was completed in March of this year, for the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
With a market capitalisation of more than US$6 billion, SGX (pic) is among the world's largest exchanges and is Asia’s second-largest listed exchange. Dell Services had been selected to future-proof the technology underpinning SGX’s depository business and enhance operating efficiency.
The exchange already offers the region's longest trading hours and was looking to streamline IT operations and lower cost-per-transaction rates, while better preparing to address future market growth.
Dell provided end-to-end application modernisation services and mainframe re-hosting technology as part of a multimillion-dollar modernisation project.
Kremer claimed that the company is seeing significant gains in Australia as well, a results of its early investments in the market.
“We’re seeing significant wins in managed services and private cloud offerings, against competitors where Dell would traditionally be less likely to emerge as the selected vendor.
“In fact, I believe we are No 2 in the region for storage, with large gains in recent months; we’re winning business not because of our leadership position in storage solutions, but rather due to the more hands-on consultative-led approach we’ve undertaken with our customers,” he added.
Such a consultative strategy takes time to reap results, said Kremer, as Dell has never had this much intellectual property and solutions available for customers before.
But he added that the one thing Dell has to its advantage is its long history of strong channel partnerships in the region that account for a significant portion of revenue.
“Our channels relationship and the percentage of business coming through via our partners is already quite high, an average of 60-70% in most markets and 100% in some,” he said.
The company’s expansion plans for Asia will be undertaken on a market-by-market approach, said Kremer.
“The challenge becomes how we think about our priorities, due to the sheer volume of IP (intellectual property) and new offerings Dell has. It’s about in what order will we have our ‘battles’ to expand our footprint. We will not rush into every market and that’s very important to ensure that we can offer value to our customers.
“We will look into each and every market and evaluate what we will need to invest in, to enable us to bring in comprehensive solutions with full support to make the outcome better,” he said.
Kremer said that Dell teams in each market are empowered to prioritise their own strategy based on what the market needs, leveraging on its advantage of dealing directly with customers and its long-term relationship with channel partners.
“As our channels continue to mature in all these markets, for any of our solutions where we have a channel partner, even if Dell is not ready but they are, then we would go ahead and invite them to take the lead for us in introducing the new offerings to the market,” he said.
When asked for his overview of the Asian region in terms of business potential, he noted that the company is seeing strong growth in markets such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.
“These are markets with substantial GDPs (gross domestic products) and we’re seeing a lot of interest in our software and infrastructure offerings,” he said.
In other markets, such as Mongolia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Pakistan, the company is seeing more focus on products and software licensing.
When asked for his take on what will be dominating industry discussions in the next 24 months, Kremer highlighted two areas.
“I think this whole question of security and the efficiency of applications, be it via a private, public or hybrid cloud, will be quite dominant.
“Whoever can help enterprise customers manage that capital expenditure to operations expenditure migration, and do it securely while making people more productive, to me is going to be crucial for all of us, not just Dell,” he said.
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