Three years ago, Dell’s IoT business started to manifest as its own entity; evolving out of synergies with Dell’s OEM Solutions business. At that time, Dell was doing a great deal of work under the OEM Solutions umbrella building up appliances and operational technologies while setting up solutions with its platform.
The IoT business proved to be very similar to OEM because it involved going to customers that were trying to implement new technologies. Many of the conversations with those customers were the same.
Dell’s OEM business had been operating for two decades globally – more than 10 years in APJ (Asia-Pacific-Japan) – and included more-than 4,500 customers in APJ. The company started to realise the potential of leveraging so many existing customers and noticed that it meant talking directly to the business operators, rather than just the IT departments. This practice started to build synergies with organisations that were looking to (further) embrace digital transformation.
Thus, Dell’s IoT business started to develop. It started with customers who were looking at implementing IoT with some of their use cases and so was initially focused on a product perspective, centred on IoT Edge.
Dell initially focussed on customers operating in the manufacturing sector and it’s a strategy that remains today. Its $1.5 billion APJ manufacturing franchise represents almost one-third of the business.
Dell says that discussions are never around hardware but rather, “How can we help you with a platform that allows more-consistent performance?” This means the partner can focus on adding new hardware, software and other technologies as required, knowing that it will work with a reliable central platform.
Shashi Kapoor, Dell’s Regional Sales Director & GM- Edge and IoT Solutions for APJ says, “Dell’s philosophy in the OEM business has always been ‘Make vs buy’.”
“This means telling partners that they are a technology company and therefore they should focus most on what’s best from an independent software vendor point of view. This means building up new software solutions for your customers and not concentrating on what hardware platform should be used. This is because you should not spend your engineering efforts, manpower and money building the hardware or appliances for your solutions when Dell can give you more value with its own off-the-shelf solutions and platforms while helping you with customisations, BIOS customisations, branding, regulatory issues and even project management on top of that,” he says.
This is the same philosophy now driving Dell’s IoT business.