Published: August 17th, 2018

Dell EMC has had a firm grip on the Canadian PC, external storage and X86 server markets so far this year, and Michael Sharun, president of Dell EMC Canada Enterprise, says a lot of that has to do with the country’s strong regional partners.

“Canada is very famous for having strong regional partners,” he told CDN on the heels of IDC Canada’s latest reports on the PC, storage and server markets for the first quarter of 2018, which indicated the technology supplier was leading in all three categories. “It’s not a country that has a national coast-to-coast partners. The regional partners give you that reach into all these markets and provide us with the ability to scale. The channel has really stepped up to propel us into these markets.”

These markets are also undergoing significant changes. Sharun says organizations are looking to consolidate who they do business with and integrate platforms across the board. Customers are buying solutions, not products, and computing power is moving further away from the IT department and making its way to the edge, opening new doors for data collection. Dell EMC is best positioned to serve the needs of customers and partners, says Sharun, adding customers and partners have wrapped their heads around the Dell-EMC merger and understand the full breadth of the Dell EMC brand, which now includes VMware, Pivotal and SecureWorks.

Quick facts about how Dell EMC’s global partner community did in the first quarter of 2018:

(According to a spokesperson for Dell EMC, the company does not share specific statistics for individual countries; therefore a detailed breakdown for Canada was unavailable. Data courtesy Dell EMC.)

  • Channel revenue was up 14 per cent Y/Y
  • Distribution was up 28 per cent Y/Y
  • Partners brought in 14,800 new customers
  • Client revenue in the channel was up 20 per cent Y/Y
  • Server revenue was up 41 per cent Y/Y
  • Services in the channel saw significant growth
  • Channels collectively made up nearly 50 per cent of the enterprise business

“This push year is a totally different paradigm for our partners and for ourselves,” he says, pointing to the rise of edge computing, AI and machine learning. “These things are becoming a part of the overall business process for a company, it’s not an off-on-the-side skunkwork project.”

Competition still nipping at the heels

In the first quarter of 2018, Dell also dominated the worldwide external enterprise storage market by capturing nearly 33 per cent of the market share with $2.06 billion USD in sales. According to the latest IDC figures, NetApp ranked second with 14.2 per cent share and $890 million in sales. Hewlett Packard Enterprise came in third at 10.4 per cent share with $652 million in revenues.

But the competition hasn’t been afraid to flex its muscles and tout its successes every quarter. Following the release of IDC’s server market share results for the fourth quarter of 2017 – which, at the time, showed HPE posting the strongest results in both market share and revenue – CEO Antonio Neri took a subtle jab at its competitors and suggested some of them are simply gobbling up market shares without any actual strategy for the years ahead.

“While HPE remains the leader in this market, it’s clear some of our competitors are more focused on share than profits. Our strategy could not be more different … we are not going to chase market share just for share’s sake. We are going to drive profitable share,” Neri wrote in a blog post.

In a recent earnings call, NetApp CEO George Kurian pointed to the company’s reported full-year revenues for 2018 of $5.91 billion, a 7 per cent increase over fiscal 2017. He praised NetApp’s success at building a strong following of customers who are looking for automated management tools, and said that Dell EMC is still trying to “rationalize” its portfolio. NetApp generated 6.8 per cent of total revenue in the global enterprise storage systems market during the first quarter of 2018, making it the third largest vendor during the quarter.

“They’re years behind of on everything from flash to cloud,” added Kurian.

According to Sharun, however, this matters very little. The partner community continues to stand by them and it shows in the numbers, he says.

“The partners really give us validation with the customer and contribute greatly to these types of results. They can sell customers pretty much anything they want on the planet and they’re saying that Dell technologies is the way to go.”

A previous version of this story said that Dell EMC does not keep specific statistics for individual countries. Dell EMC does keep specific statistics for individual countries but does not share them. CDN apologizes for the error.