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Technology / Networks

Q&A: A firm investment in software

Why was Dell Software set up in 2012?

Prior to forming the Dell Software Group we had built some important software products, like Open Manage Suite, and acquired some products like Boomi and KACE. However, the company recognised that there was a need to broaden our portfolio in a way that complemented our partner’s products and gave Dell a broader, more integrated set of products to meet changing customer needs.

In particular, we decided to focus on Information Management, Systems Management because we thought they represented key sources of value for customers and were highly complementary with things Dell was already doing in other parts of the business.

How has Dell Software’s portfolio developed since then and what plans do you have to further develop it?

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We have made a number of milestone announcements to our five key solution portfolio areas. For example, in the Datacentre and Cloud management solution set, we recently announced a new release of the KACE K1000 Management Appliance, aimed at alleviating the complexities, costs and risks associated with software compliance and proper licence management. This continues to build on our investment in the KACE IP Dell acquired a few years back.

In May, we introduced DellFoglight APM 5.9, our newest application performance monitoring solution that came from our Quest acquisition. We also announced the Quest One Data Governance Edition in June, which adds identity to the classification of unstructured data.And just last week we announced our new SonicOS which improves our SonicWALL capabilities in terms of Network Security & Application performance.

You unveiled plans last year to develop Dell Software into a $5bn business. How are you achieving this and how long will it take to get there?

Not quite true. While I have said that ultimately I would like to see Dell Software turn into a $5bn business, in the short to medium term our goals are more modest – we have publically said that we are focused on building a $2bn+ business by 2016, and to this end, we are making good progress. We expect to do about $1.5bn of bookings this year, which makes us one of the top twenty software companies. We plan to grow this top-line number quickly by leveraging our existing base, as both the Dell direct and indirect channels can help us create enormous lift in our business.

To fulfil these plans we have to enhance our software capabilities, invest in additional sales capabilities innovate through research and developmentas well as through acquisitions.

You said that you would target small and medium businesses as well as emerging markets for growth last year. How is this panning out and how do you plan to grow the business further in the coming years?

We see small and medium business as a relatively underserved market that needs all the capabilities of enterprise solutions across a range of solutions, from data protection to email migration and multi-cloud management. Products like our Dell AppAssure data protection software and Dell Active Administrator provide powerful, affordable, and easy-to-use solutions businesses can access via a web-based management console.

Emerging Countries are projected to grow 6.0% vs 2.0% of growth in Developed Countries in 2013 (IMF World Economic Outlook April 2012). Dell is committed to its business in Emerging Markets, with 56% of the E10 IT industry addressable by Dell.

How many companies have you acquired since Dell Software was created and how has this helped to improve the business?What further acquisitions are you targeting?

Since Fiscal Year 2011, Dell has completed 19 acquisitions. While these acquisitions have been across Dell’s four businesses, the key ones for Dell Software have been KACE, SonicWall, AppAssure, Quest, Boomi and Enstratius. They have helped build out Dell Software’s capabilities and address customer needs when it comes to security, cloud, data back up and protection, systems management and application modernisation.

Through a combination of M&A, organic innovation and product integration we will strengthen our portfolio and extend our value to customers.

How has the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets, as well as the cheaper competition from the East, affected your business?

We believe that more and more devices will come on to a corporation’s network and the profile and number of those devices will have different footprints and usage models.

What challenges are there in developing software for data centre and cloud management?

The challenges we face in all these areas are to make the complex simple. Our software products must be designed to allow business of all sizes to take advantages of the latest technology without forcing them to become technology experts. This is as true in Multi Cloud Management as it is in BYOD.

As security is the fastest growing area Dell Software works in, how are you attempting to keep pace with ever-changing and ever-increasing IT security threats?

In 2012 alone there were 621 security incidents and 44 million compromised records. Organisations are facing increasingly tough security challenges and outside pressures, and in order to keep up with this we have created an increasingly large security portfolio.

Dell Software Group is established as a ‘one stop shop’ from how to configure your environment to monitoring and managing it. We also have consulting for these functions. Security is clearly a key issue with the growth of BYOD and moreover the Consumerisation of IT in general. We see BYOD principally as a security issue and less of a connectivity issue in terms of understanding what systems to allow users access to. To address top security issues, we have defined a number of scenarios that relate to the potential loss of data and what products customers would need for these.

For example, since acquiring SonicWALL, we’ve anchored network security. Dell SonicWALL Next-Generation Firewalls and Unified Threat Management firewalls deliver intrusion prevention, malware protection, application intelligence, real-time traffic visualisation, and inspection for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)-encrypted sessions at the gateway.
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