As outlined by Gartner, uptake so far is strongest in storage with half of newly deployed storage capacity expected to be consumed as-a-service within the next three years.
Part of the appeal in rolling out infrastructure as-a-service is centred around a desire for organisations to leverage more manageable hardware refreshes, according to Tracy Woo, senior analyst at Forrester Research.
“Hardware vendors that traditionally sold a system as a one-off are finding it hard to compete with the cloud providers," Woo observed. “Customers don’t want a data centre that is difficult to refresh. Public cloud offers the ability to get the latest hardware, with much less upstart costs, and not having to worry about CAPEX budgeting.”
Hence the recent launch of Dell APEX, a new offering of managed storage, server and hyper-converged infrastructure which can be deployed in a customer’s own data centre, at edge locations or in colocation facilities with the enterprise paying for capacity as needed.
Among the benefits of a consumption-based model is the opportunity for enterprises to better align infrastructure costs with usage. The offering can also allow companies to reduce the time and complexity of acquiring, managing and servicing physical IT infrastructure.
The move comes as partners rank managed services as the second leading priority on both sides of the Tasman in 2021 - according to EDGE Research - behind only security in solution importance.
“As we look to win in the data centre, longer term we want to take our customers and partners on the APEX journey,” Soghomonian said.
Despite acknowledging that partners have been providing products as-a-service for a number of years in A/NZ - highlighted through the vendor’s expanding network of cloud service providers - Soghomonian highlighted that post-pandemic, customer proposals seeking consumption-based option continue to increase at pace.
Currently, partners are being supported in as-a-service projects by Dell Financial Services (DFS), the vendor’s financing arm.
“We’re seeing a lot of customers take this on,” Soghomonian added. “We’re not winning all but we’re winning some and we’re starting to see this become more of a requirement as part of the proposal process, especially in relation to the data centre.
“DFS allows us to provide consultative-based product offerings in the market, from PC as-a-service all the way through to on-demand data centre solutions.”
Driving market growth
More broadly speaking, Soghomonian also referenced sharp uptake in PowerStore products within the mid-range storage market, following a portfolio refresh designed to help partners deliver end-to-end digital transformation projects spanning 17 next-generation servers. This is in addition to sustained demand for client solutions as organisations continue to pursue remote working and learning strategies.
“Partners continue to help customers by sharing examples of best practice,” he said. “As vendors and partners, the working from home element has been in play for quite some time, especially in an industry constantly travelling interstate on a weekly basis.
“While the pandemic was an obvious shock, the channel was able to go out and share experience in shifting employees to remote working in a productive and secure fashion. We continue to see a spike in our client business, as evident through our first quarter results.”
The wider market perspective bodes well from a cross-sell acceleration standpoint with partners selling across the entire Dell portfolio - enhanced further by strategic VMware attachments - now generating triple-digit rewards.
As revealed by sister publication Channel Asia, partners selling three line of business items - spanning client, server and storage - plus VMware achieve approximately 124x the revenue compared to providers selling one product item.
In addition, partners selling across the vendor's three offerings without VMware also stand to benefit, creating revenue increases in excess of x11 and x42 compared to two and one product lines respectively.
“This represents a quantum shift for our channel,” outlined Tian Beng Ng, senior vice president and general manager of Channels across Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) at Dell, when speaking to Channel Asia in February. “Our big differentiator is the strength of our end-to-end portfolio and our message to partners remains simple; leverage this strength because more money is to made and this approach offers more chance of winning in the market.”
From an A/NZ standpoint, Soghomonian also cited distribution - namely Dicker Data, Ingram Micro and Tech Data - as critical in delivering on Dell’s evolving channel strategy going forward, following a strong 12 months supporting the ecosystem during COVID-19.
“Our distributors had a great year, they did everything right and supported the industry,” he noted. “Going forward we’re focused on ensuring our distributors are well positioned in terms of as-a-service opportunities, plus our mid-range storage and client solutions.
“To have increased the number of transacting partners with Dell is a testament to the work of distribution because as a vendor, we cover a small percentage of the managed providers. Our aim is to continue expanding our reach via distribution and adding more partners selling solutions to customers.”