In the late Middle Ages, from the banks of the River Tagus in Lisbon, the Portuguese launched one of the most exciting exploration adventures of all time – first the rounding of the West coast of Africa, then the tricky Cape of Good Hope, and finally the opening of the sea trading route to India.
The IT industry feels like that now. It’s not fleets of brave sailors, it is brands, distributors and resellers who are boldly charting a new course. And on those same Portuguese river banks last week, 100 distributors gathered at the invitation of Dell EMC where the company had the wind in its sails after announcing 15% revenue growth in their first annual results since going public again.
The Dell Distribution Summit on day 2
The positive news didn’t stop there. CONTEXT European distribution panel sales data for the last quarter of 2018 showed a stellar 35.1% growth in revenues year-on-year with strong performance in both client and infrastructure solutions, notably desktops and servers, where their growth led the pack, and storage where they effected a turnaround after last year’s negative growth in a declining market hit by lack of memory availability.
The annual 2.8% growth of storage revenues through distribution - 3.8% including HCI - is a staging post in Dell’s priority to accelerate growth in this most exciting category. Distributors were challenged to pick up the baton of this new technology and put hyper scale into the company’s hyper-converged infrastructure offering, leveraging the distributors’ ability to multiply commercial opportunities, demonstrate the capabilities of new technologies, accompany resellers and end clients in implementing solutions, all working to increase the percentage of deals which go through the channel.
Distribution is a vital element of Dell EMC’s growth plans, clearly articulated by Anwar Dahab in his new role as Senior VP EMEA of Channel, supported by Aongus Hegarty, President of EMEA, and Ralf Jordan, VP of Distribution, host and conceiver of the event. Distributors have lived with the occasional headwind since Dell’s first entry into the channel, followed by the turbulence of the merger with EMC, but now there is a positive rhythm, most definitely facilitated by the human relationships strengthened at this type of event
Ralf Jordan, VP of EMEA Distribution addresses the Dell EMC Summit
CONTEXT was asked to survey the state of the Dell EMC/distributor relationship, and the answer was positive. Any areas of improvement were articulated clearly and transparently, with a clear affirmation by distributors of their trust in the journey, while recognising that a mixed go-to-market model can cause tensions.
Dell’s Lisbon flotilla was supported by Microsoft and Intel as sponsors of the event. Attendees were treated to a magnificent playbook of what Artificial Intelligence means through Microsoft research and the augmenting reality of the Hololens, and gained an insightful view into where Intel is going with 50% of its revenues generated from data-centric businesses in 2018 for the first time.
Events like this reinforce the realisation that the IT industry is a complex voyage involving a host of interconnected players. Dell EMC demonstrated last week that it has navigated the challenging waters of the Cape of Good Hope, and, from the evidence of this Summit, will be charting new trade routes for the IT industry as they forge ahead on their journey.
© CONTEXT 2019