The VAR Guy

September 21, 2007

2 Min Read
Dell Set to Invade Silicon Valley With Managed Services

Few people realize it, but Dell is sending a Trojan Horse into Silicon Valley next week. The big hardware company–which isn’t known for innovation, software or acquisitions–will show off all three traits at a small (but strategic) conference in San Jose on September 24 and 25.

Back in July, The VAR Guy told readers to keep a close eye on Dell’s (DELL) acquisition of Silverback Technologies. Well folks, it’s time to take another close look at that deal.

Yes, Silverback specializes in managed services software. The Dell/Silverback team will attend an MSP Alliance conference in San Jose on Sept. 24 and 25. Most of the conference participants are small software companies like Autotask, Kaseya and N-able. But many big technology companies are announcing managed services strategies of their own. Symantec is set to launch the Symantec Protection Network in the next few weeks. And Cisco Systems will launch a managed service business strategy in October.

The Silverback acquisition allows Dell to leapfrog many potential online software rivals. But there’s one key problem: Some Silverback VARs may not trust Dell because of the company’s direct sales heritage. But I think Silverback signals a new mindset from Dell.

Here’s why: Millions of small businesses struggle to manage, configure, secure and maintain their notebooks, PCs and servers. Michael Dell can’t possibly hope to manage all of those customer systems from his empire in Austin, Texas.

So finally, it’s time for Dell to rely on technology consultants and integrators to service small and midsize businesses. And many of those consultants will surely want a tool like Silverback to remotely manage customer networks.

That’s a win for Dell’s fledgling software strategy, and it should also improve customer satisfaction among Dell’s small and midsize business customers.

But success won’t happen overnight. Dell must use the San Jose managed services conference to convice technology consultants that they’re strategic to the company’s success.

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