INTERVIEW: New Dell MD unveils ambitious end-to-end strategy
- 16 October, 2014 17:49
Dell A/NZ managing director, Angela Fox.
Dell's new A/NZ managing director, Angela Fox, has unveiled an ambitious end-to-end strategy as she attempts to reshape a large part of the Australian operations into a channel-oriented services company.
Fox, a New Zealander who grew up in a country town at the base of the Corimandel Peninsula, replaced long serving managing director, Joe Kremer, in June, after heading up the company's services business in Asia Pacific and Japan.
She joins a distinguished list of female leaders of large tech companies in Australia, which includes Microsoft's Pip Marlow, Google's Maile Carnegie, Intel's Kate Burleigh and Twitter's Karen Stocks.
The appointment comes as the newly privatised company shifts its focus towards software, services and Cloud.
Fox told ARN Dell had made a significant number of acquisitions recently in the area of software, which had built a multi-billion dollar business.
"Around 50 per cent of the workforce are service professionals, so it gives you a sense of the capability and breadth we have been making with our investments," she said.
"I want to take us from the strength that we already have in market, and just continue to build on our success in providing those end-to-end solutions.
"We are seeing more and more examples of competitive offerings in the areas of software and services and we are really looking for the opportunities where we can take customers, where we are an incumbent today perhaps, from an infrastructure perspective, and make sure we are adding further value through a broader solution."
She said it was about building on the strength that is the A/NZ business and taking it to the next level.
"Continuing to evolve our capability in areas like Cloud to take advantage of the shifting dynamics of the market," she said.
"I think the key message I would like to leave you with is that a lot of what I am really focused on doing with the team is evangelising to the market, to customers, to prospects the fact that building from our core competency as an infrastructure provider, we really do have that end-to-end capability.
On October 15, the company announced two new datacentre locations in Sydney and Melbourne, through a partnership with datacentre operator, Digital Realty.
This was flanked by a partnership with local Cloud solutions firm 6YS, which will enable Dell to offer Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service.
Fox said the key trends driving the market were also driving key initiatives within the Dell business.
"Cloud has got the opportunity to redefine the industry, as I talk to the importance of trying to build out that Cloud strategy," she said.
"So fundamental to that is our announcement made around our collaboration with Digital Realty, as well as the likes of 6YS, as part of our Cloud partner program."
She said the decision to partner Digital Realty was based on its "highly professional" datacentres and services, and the standards of speed, security, capacity and capability.
"6YS provides a differentiated offering across the board from Infrastructure-as-a-service to DR (data recovery) and back up as-as-service, platform-as-service," she said.
"In that public space you will see us do more and more around partnering and that program approach."
Despite a worldwide decline in shipments of PCs, Fox said the company had achieved balanced growth across the different areas of the business.
"We continue to see growth in PC, and we certainly continue to see growth in the datacentre areas around servers and storage networking.
"But we are seeing more adoption in areas like converged infrastructure, so it's balanced growth across the board."
The channel looks set to play a much larger role in the company going forward.
Fox said the company would continue to expand its channel and it's capabilities.
"We are seeing a premium around the growth of our channel business," she said.
"Our business is growing and channel is a key part of that growth.
"The situation is that some of our partners see real appeal dealing with Dell because they can come to one vendor to form a relationship and take to market the breadth of our solutions portfolio.
"In some cases that's forming part of the differentiation with the partner community."
Dell global commercial channel manager, A/NZ, Peter Murphy, said Dell had not always been associated with the channel but that it now comprised one-third of its global business.
"With many of the acquisitions come some very channel oriented companies and our initial goal through those acquisitions was to do no harm," he said.
"We have left a lot of those existing distribution agreements in place."
With 2,000 partner across A/NZ, Murphy said it was one of the fastest growing parts of the business.
"We have taken geographies like Tasmania to an exclusively indirect route to market, where we are working with partners who really have invested in terms of scaling up from a Dell solutions perspective," he said.
"The key message is we are very oriented around the channel and it's one of the fastest growing parts of our business."
Although Fox had barely got her feet wet in the top job, she was keen to promote a culture of inclusion.
"In roles like this you are judged on you results, results are important, but I see results are a byproduct of having great people that actually engage with your customers and prospects," she said.
"I think the reality is there is a responsibility which comes with the profile of being a senior female leader to find a way to give back, particularly focused on gender diversity within the market, but also in a broader context.
"For me it's not just gender diversity, but diversity and inclusion. It's about creating culture where differences of opinion are actually valued.
"You're setting up a culture that actually values people having confidence to bring forward their thoughts.
"I think that springs off into innovation and how you get the best out of your people around the entrepreneurial aspect. I think that's alive and well in our organisation."