August 1, 2012
Ask most people about Dell and they’ll likely tell you about consumer electronics or infrastructure hardware. But as the world moves from being hardware focused to being software and solution focused, Dell is rapidly morphing to become an important services player. A case in point is Dell’s Cloud Business Solution unit that I was recently briefed about.
Launched last year at salesforce’ DreamForce event, the unit packages up software solutions (from salesforce, echosign and others) and ties them together with integrations from Dell-owned integration vendor Boomi. They’re aiming for organizations in the 50-1000 employee bracket, a large customer base but one that is traditionally difficult to service because of their relatively complex requirements and small budgets. By leveraging their own integration solutions, and the leverage they have with third party vendors, Dell aims to deliver compelling and economically viable packaged solutions to businesses that, importantly for this demographic, is all delivered form one central billing relationship.
Recently Dell announced that is was partnering with Pardot to roll out an end to end marketing automation solution. Included in the offering are pre-built integrations into CRM systems and social media applications. The idea is to bring demand generation initiatives, generally the domain of larger organizations, down to small and mid size businesses and to ease the implementation of the solution by providing pre-configured integrations into commonly used solutions. To ease in this time-to-implement drive,the offering includes services for setting up email campaigns, developing web site forms, and integrating Google AdWords and CRM systems.
The solution, strikingly called Dell Marketing Automation is price from $1,000 per month for unlimited users. All editions come with basic Dell Implementation services and to speak to Dell’s new services thrust, Dell is offering pricing for additional fixed-fee, fixed-scope implementation services starting at $2,500.
Interestingly Dell hasn’t yet tried to use their clout to answer the very real issue (at least for SMB users) of inconsistencies around user interface and experience. I’d really love Dell to leverage their Boomi integration smarts to come up with something to address these deeper problems – as an interim measure however, an integrated suite of SMB offerings, all billed from one vendor is a compelling proposition for customers. And one which helps Dell wean itself from the ever-decreasing returns of a hardware vendor’s traditional models.