Much has changed in a year for Dell Technologies.
In May 2017, the Round Rock-based tech company was fresh from its mega-deal to acquire data storage giant EMC Corp. The new partners were hosting Dell’s annual conference together in Las Vegas for the first time, and there was no expectation that Dell would explore another significant move anytime soon.
As Dell approached this year’s Dell Technologies World conference, however, it faced added industry curiosity about the company’s future. Dell has confirmed it is weighing whether to become a publicly traded company again. That news comes as Dell continues to pay back billions in debt following its $67 billion acquisition of EMC Corp. Pivotal Software, a cloud computing company Dell controls, also recently completed an initial public offering that was expected to raise about $555 million.
Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell said that the 2018 conference would help Dell “share our vision of technology as the driver of human progress in every corner of the world.”
Through the EMC deal and other acquisitions, Dell has bet big in recent years on moving beyond its flagship PC business and growing its cloud computing and storage offerings. During this year’s conference, Dell announced that Microsoft would help with security measures and other technology for Internet of Things projects.
Questions remain about how Dell and EMC’s partnership might evolve, and what Dell’s long-term strategy is in a changing and competitive industry that is increasingly focused on IoT.
Rob Enderle, an industry analyst with Oregon-based Enderle Group, spoke to the American-Statesman about what he gleaned from Dell’s conference.
American-Statesman: What were your biggest takeaways from Dell’s 2018 conference?
Enderle: “Dell continues to blend the cultural differences between them and EMC. EMC was a very complex company with a lot of layers, and Dell was run a lot more flat, so we are still in the early days of the partnership. (VP of operations) Jeff Clarke is fully up-to-speed, but it is a very difficult integration, though they are making progress. Long-term, I expect we’re going to see a much more blended operation, and EMC will probably reduce some company functions to be more like Dell is used to.
“Michael Dell said Pivotal (Software) would be better served as a public company because they would have greater ease attracting funding. As far as taking Dell Technologies public again, it’s clear that (Michael Dell) will do so only if he has no other choice, but I don’t believe he wants to do that because he likes the lack of overhead. I’ve talked to him about it but have also seen him talk about it, and it’s very clear he doesn’t want to do that.
“Right now, Dell’s IoT effort is focused on the industrial and office space. They are not focused on homes. They want to transform the office with automation. This is still in the early stages, but the (partnership) with Microsoft is a major step to have more automation in things that go into smart buildings, such as buildings recognizing employees coming in, making sure air conditioning and lighting systems are working properly, etc. Microsoft will ensure the secure implantation that Dell has been working on. Dell’s cloud services have advanced nicely, and they are making progress in virtual reality.”