As you might recall, ESG conducted our own research after the announcement of Dell acquiring EMC to find out what actual people — those who buy stuff — thought. At that time, we really wanted to focus on only what Dell and EMC customers thought about the deal. But recently, we conducted some additional research to specifically gain insight into what non-customers of Dell and EMC thought.
The first question to non-customers was:
To what extent could this combined Dell/EMC entity possibly help you achieve your business goals over the next 3 years?
It turns out that half of these organizations expect to work with them over this timeframe, with some even stating that the potential new company will be critical to their success. Conversely, only 9% completely dismissed the notion of working with a combined Dell-EMC.
That’s a weird set of statistics in that I’d expect most non-customers to expect to stick to what they were already doing — but the data says that people think the combined Dell/EMC has some incremental new value. We all know that the IT market is famously competitive with tough to manage brand loyalty but this really indicates that folks like IBM and HP will have to take extra care to manage existing relationships and share of budget.
The next question to non-customers was:
What benefits could the joint entity provide your organization that would most likely prompt a replacement of you existing IT supplier?
In this case, the most commonly cited responses included technology innovation, volume discount pricing, and end to end service and support. These responses align pretty well with the legacy DNA of EMC and Dell. I specifically like the technology innovation aspect, which Dell rarely gets associated with. Dell gets a big boost in that area if and when they eat up EMC (which means EMC and VMware need to stop the stock slide!).
Which also lets me continue to tell the naysayers about Dell screwing around in innovative areas, like VCE for example, that they are being downright silly. If anything, VCE — already the 800lb gorilla in the converged space — will get even MORE innovation assets, because now customers get Cisco, EMC, and Dell R&D bucks (a huge pile of bucks). To think Mr. Dell will screw around with the Cisco mix is utterly absurd, and quite frankly, smells like someone has another agenda to me. Why? I can’t say. It’s just stupid business if anyone (Cisco, Dell, or EMC) screws with this formula, and none of those companies are stupid companies.
The take away from this research of non-Dell/EMC customers indicates that there is a possible growth opportunity outside of the current Dell and EMC customer bases, which frankly, I hadn’t put a lot of thought into. In particular, the point of innovation is important as I know firsthand from talking to executives at both Dell and EMC that they truly understand this and the notion that providing the customers with best in class technology options will be key to both retaining existing clients and capturing new ones. It is going to be an interesting nine months, and ESG will continue to publish research on this topic to help IT decision makers know what their peers are thinking.
As always, feel free to chime in.