5 ways the Dell buyout will (or will not) affect the channel

 In IT News/Events, News

When word broke about Dell’s decision to go private, it triggered a firestorm of reactions across the industry. Responses ranged from the customer doomsday predictions featured in HP’s official response to Microsoft’s 83-word, $2 billion endorsement. News articles do everything from analyzing the events that led to this strategic move, to identifying the implications of the buyout, and predicting how the deal will ultimately play out in the future.

While I can appreciate the continued dialogue and debate, those of us tasked with supporting IT organizations all day, every day really just want to know: What does the Dell buyout mean to us, right now?

In the days following Dell’s announcement, SHI customers have approached their account teams to learn how the acquisition will (or will not) affect them. Here are the five questions we’ve been asked the most:

1) How will the privatization of Dell affect its relationship with SHI? and 2) How will it affect Dell’s attitude toward the IT channel overall?

The SHI-Dell partnership was forged in the mid-to-late 1990s, eight to 10 years before Dell launched its Partner Direct program. As I spoke about in an interview for the Direct2Dell blog in October, the high level of communication SHI received from Dell with regards to strategic acquisitions had previously eased concerns about any change to Dell’s increasingly channel-friendly attitude. We do not believe this week’s news will affect our growing partnership in the short or long term. Now more than ever, I can’t see why Dell would want it to.

3) What is Microsoft’s motivation for investing $2 billion in Dell?

Having never had $2 billion to invest in anything, I can’t speak for Microsoft and refuse to speculate. (However, Barb Darrow at GigaOM does.)

When you consider that Microsoft has $70 billion in cash and short-term securities, and has previously made investments in companies like Apple (1997), Facebook (2007), Nokia (2011), Barnes & Noble (2012), and many others, this loan seems less surprising and more logical.

During all of Microsoft’s investments, SHI continued our rise to become the top Microsoft LAR in North America, so they were hardly a distraction. I don’t anticipate Microsoft’s investment in Dell will be any different.

4) Will there be a restructuring? As an IT buyer, will my contacts at Dell stay the same?

It might be too early to talk about personnel restructuring at Dell (and no, we have haven’t heard anything). However, SHI customers benefit from the stability of working with what will continue to be the longest-tenured IT sales force in the industry. The SHI sales team that you know best is unlikely to change.

5) Are other customers asking about this?

Sure, but most seem pretty calm about it (and rightly so). The real buzz seems to be on Twitter, where a simple search on Dell will provide access to every article you’ll ever need on the topic.

So despite the noise you might hear from tech blogs and Wall Street pundits, what’s most important is that the established systems and processes SHI’s clients use in combining Dell technologies with world-class SHI service will not change.

So much for Wall Street (privately speaking, of course…)

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