Dell’s software president, John Swainson.
Dell’s software president John Swainson told me in a recent interview that there’s plenty of integration work still to do regarding the firm’s spate of software acquisitions. The news comes hot on the heels of the announcement by the firm that founder Michael Dell and equity group Silve Lake Partners intend to buy Dell’s shares and take the firm private.
In recent years Dell has made a number of hardware and networking buys as well as a string of software purchases. These include AppAssure and Credant for data protection and backup; Make Technologies and Clerity for application modernisation; as well as Gale Technologies for infrastructure automation software, SonicWall for network security and Quest Software for systems management.
Swainson, parachuted into Dell partly as a result of his acquisition experience from being CEO at CA from 2005 to 2009, told me: "Realistically [integration] will take some time. Our customers are demanding we provide a more complete solution and that’s what we’re working on."
Dell has been on an acquisition spree to make it look more like an IBM, HP or Oracle. In 2009 it bought Perot systems for IT services; in 2010 Compellent for storage, and last year it bought thin client firm Wyse.
Swainson said the software acquisitions though have felt rather different than those made by CA. "I’ve done 43 acquisitions, and normally you’re getting the acquired companies to conform to what the buying company wants," he said. "But Dell didn’t have a software division so there was nothing for them to conform to. It’s very different but there are early signs of success."
Read my analysis of the background to Dell’s move to go private here.