Dell both expands its roster of multi-cloud services around Azure and announces a new category of subscription-based services that provide modern workforce services.
Today, Dell Technologies is further expanding its long and deep partnership with Microsoft by introducing a series of new services across multi-cloud, modern workforce, applications and data, and resiliency and security for the Microsoft Cloud platform. These include a new services category, advisory service subscriptions for Azure Stack HCI, Microsoft 365 or Dynamics 365. Most of this new services business is expected to be direct, because of Dell’s broad experience in the area, although Dell says there will be a significant role for partners, including smaller and more focused ones as well as GSIs.
Earlier this year, Dell commissioned a study conducted by Forrester Consulting, which found a significant majority of customers, even technologically sophisticated enterprises, lacked the skills and means to drive technology innovation that will generate positive business outcomes. Forrester found that 75% of IT decision makers surveyed need external expertise to achieve specific outcomes. They also found that 69% said a lack of sufficient resources or expertise prevented them from realizing the full value of their technology purchases.
“I’m never surprised by the number of customers who need support driving transformational outcomes,” said Scott Bils, vice president of product management, Dell Professional Services.
“It is hard for customers to keep up, because technology is changing so fast, noted Mark Cabot, senior director of Dell Services strategic partnerships. “Dell is a very unique Microsoft partner. We have a sizeable OEM business with them, as well as a licensing business, and we are also a systems integrator. We have a lot of routes to market for them.”
The new Dell multi-cloud services are designed to help businesses take full advantage of Microsoft Azure features. This includes running containers and workloads natively in Azure, utilizing Azure Stack HCI for hybrid, multicloud and edge use cases, and expanding their VMware footprint to the Azure cloud.
“What we try and do is respond to customer demand and support customer choice and put workloads where they belong,” Cabot said. “A lot of solutions make sense on-prem, especially at the edge, and those are ideally suited for Azure Stack HCI.”
These multi-cloud services are sold individually, not as bundles.
“The multi-cloud services help customers get more value out of their Azure subscriptions,” Cabot stated. “They are individual services that can be combined from a customer viewpoint, but are designed to be sold on an individual basis.”
“These services span across the four areas,” Bils noted. Those are for advisory, implementation, modernization, and security and management, and bolster Dell’s portfolio of Microsoft services.
“We developed all these services in these four areas specifically for the Azure relationship,” he said. “We also have services around DevSecOps, which we help customers to implement, and train up their staff around the model. It’s really about helping DevSecOps on Azure.”
On the other hand, the three new subscription-based services are entirely new, and designed to provide modern workforce services in a personalized and secure hybrid work environment and maximize ROI. The three advisory service subscriptions are for Azure Stack HCI, Microsoft 365 or Dynamics 365.
“The new subscription-based services are a new model,” Bils said.
“These services are not currently available through APEX, although we will evaluate that going forward,” Bils added. “It is not available there at this time.”
So how big a deal is this likely to be for channel partners, given that the majority of Dell services are sold direct, and the skill of the Dell services staff is a major incent behind the new offerings?
“This runs across four different areas, and most partners have strong expertise in perhaps one or two,” Bils said. “We expect partners will be involved in deals, but they will work with Dell services, based on what we are hearing.”
“A lot of these services we deliver to the end user direct but we also work intently with our channel to complement the services that they provide,” Cabot indicated. “A lot of our partners are Microsoft partners, but they may not have that deep expertise that Dell services people do.”
Partners involved here are not, however, likely to be entirely GSIs.
“We do have partners with a lot of Dell expertise who look to us for complete knowledge of expertise,” Cabot said. “Azure Stack HCI in particular is still relatively immature. We have deployed more than anyone else. We have GSI partners who look to partner with us in that area.
“Our services around Azure Stack HCI will likely catch partners’ attention, because very few partners have those skills,” he added. “Our cyberrecovery services are based in our unique IP, that they may not have access to as well.”
“We have had a long history of offers around the modern workforce,” Bils concluded. “We think that here, the areas around multi cloud and Azure, data security and backup, and DevSecOps will be particularly interesting for partners.”
Microsoft recently awarded Dell the 2023 Partner of the Year awards for the Device services and FastTrack Ready categories. Dell has won more than 65 partner awards from Microsoft over their 35-year relationship. Microsoft also awarded Dell the Solutions Partner Designation after validating the capabilities and customer success across all Microsoft Cloud solution areas.