In 2007, Michael Dell returned to the role of CEO of Dell, determined to end with its reliance on PCs by moving the company into more profitable and growing areas. He started a long-term strategy to turn Dell into an IT services company able to compete with IBM, HP, Cisco and others. That transition has been happening slowly. In 2012 half of Dell’s revenue still came from laptop and desktop PCs. But while hardware continued to play a large part of Dell’s global business model, the company started to establish itself as a major end-to-end and cloud services player.
“When it comes to the cloud, the question is always ‘build it, buy it or partner?’” explains Lisa Larson, chief cloud officer of Dell partner Vology.
After flip flopping on its cloud strategy for years, the company decided to finally settled on one that relies on nearly a dozen major cloud partners instead of building a standalone public cloud of its own. That means to keep public cloud partnerships central to its efforts to bulk up its end-to-end services capability. So far, Dell it’s working with 11 cloud partners from AWS, CenturyLink, Google, Azure and Zerolag.
“HP, Cisco and IBM are building very expensive public clouds to compete with Amazon and Google. We are the only ones that are saying we don’t want to get into that fight,” said Nnamdi Orakwue, vice president of Dell software strategy, operations and cloud.
This way Dell enters an increasingly crowded space of cloud brokerage companies who have opted not to build out their own expensive public clouds, but rather act as a facilitator of others.
Dell is set to continue focusing on strategic partnerships with cloud infrastructure and services providers as it works to build out its end-to-end services portfolio offering.