Dimension Data's CEO Outlines '08 Opportunities11:54 AM EST Wed. Dec. 26, 2007
By any measure, Dimension Data has had a very good year. The solution provider (30th on the VARBusiness 500) had good financial news this year, and saw revenue increase more than 15 percent, to $3.8 billion. Jere Brown, CEO of Dimension Data Americas, recently told ChannelWeb his plans for the future of Dimension Data, what technologies look hot, and how the VAR has successfully evolved from a traditional plan, build, and support model to one tat is more innovative and responsive to customers' needs.
What new technologies are especially appealing to your customers, and how will you implement these new solutions?
Unified communications (UC) continues to be a strong area for us. Dimension Data hears the need for integration of Cisco and Microsoft technologies around UC echoed time and time again in our meetings with clients. Dimension Data's unified communications offering, which we call Integrated Collaboration (IC), does just that. By integrating Cisco and Microsoft technologies, Dimension Data's IC solution makes it possible for clients to collaborate instantly in rich and powerful ways with more secure instant messaging and integrated voice, video and data, which are incorporated as part of core productivity applications.
In addition, we're seeing clients look to consolidation including 'going green' initiatives and virtualization. In fact, the desire to 'go green' is also echoed repeatedly across many of our lines of business, including Data Center & Storage, Convergence and Contact Center.
So whether its data center, contact center, security, Microsoft solutions or converged communications and networking, we've built comprehensive lines of business and technology solutions to meet client needs.
Your annual results were very impressive. To what do you owe your success?
The employees of Dimension Data Americas have contributed greatly to our success, and we continue to implement new employee programs to recognize their accomplishments and offer opportunities for ongoing learning and development. As a result, we were awarded the Helios HR Apollo Award for our unmatched employee growth and development programs.
As a result of their hard work, we are experiencing strong services growth in both managed and professional services, meeting client needs for a full lifecycle of IT services that help IT management deliver better business values. We also generated operational efficiencies this year that are delivering strong bottom line results. Additionally, we are seeing significant growth outside of the U.S., and we're taking advantage of the growth within our multinational customer base. Our growth among multinational companies in Canada and Brazil has also been strong and has contributed to our growth in the Americas.
Has the financial sector's woes affected your business at all?
We are, of course, concerned about the financial services sector, and we're mindful of market conditions. However, we have a very diverse cross section of clients -- across many industries -- and we also conduct a considerable amount of business outside of the U.S. We're also cautious in our business plans, manage our expenditures carefully, and are keeping a watchful eye on the pipeline. So at this time, we believe our prudence and our ability to quickly respond to changing market conditions is serving us well.
Next: Leveraging Americas Organization
What are Dimension Data's plans for 2008?
Fiscal year '07 marked a year of expansion for Dimension Data Americas with the addition of offices in Brazil and Canada, as well as further expansion into Mexico. We have already experienced significant success in each region, including Dimension Data Canada earning Cisco Gold certification in only four months. In fiscal '08, we will continue to grow our core business by leveraging the strength of the Americas organization -- capitalizing on opportunities with clients that have nationwide or multinational needs. In fact, many of our U.S. clients have offices in these regions, and our recent expansion allows us to build on these relationships and provide consistent and streamlined delivery of services and solutions across the Western Hemisphere.
Will growth be organic or through acquisition?
In fiscal year '08, we will continue to grow our business in the U.S., Canada and Brazil as there is consolidation in the market, and we're always looking to increase and improve our position through acquisitions that are pertinent to our clients and our business. Consequently, we not only intend to have an organic growth plan, but we will also be able to quickly capitalize on acquisitions if pertinent to our business.
Your services strategy has evolved from a traditional plan, build, and support model to include manage, improve and innovate. Tell us about that.
Dimension Data has historically provided and continues to provide world-class plan, build and support services for the IT infrastructure, which include consulting, design, procurement, integration, deployment, maintenance and monitoring. What we have recognized from client feedback and from emerging market trends, however, is that there is a need for us to provide enhanced managed services, where we take more accountability and more responsibility for the service processes and service delivery than in traditional support services. Many of our clients are now looking to multisourcing and outsourcing as key components in their technology strategies. As they adopt these strategies, they require technology partners with the flexibility, transparency, experience, and skills necessary to create competitive advantage. Consequently, we have adapted our Services Continuum accordingly and now include 'manage, improve and innovate' service functions; we are not necessarily moving away from technology-related services, but rather we are now able to offer process-related services that compliment those services.
In the 'manage' service function, Dimension Data is taking responsibility and ownership for running services for the lifecycle of that technology within a client's environment. The focus is on building a set of processes that enable us to do service delivery and service support effectively, driving down operating costs, reducing the number of incidents and faults, and ultimately lowering the cost for managing and supporting the environment. 'Manage' is all about maximizing return on the current IT investment. The 'improve' and 'innovate' service functions are about looking to the future, focusing on strategy and evolution and giving clients competitive advantage through technology innovation. These enhanced offerings transform Dimension Data from a mere technology provider into a strategic technology partner and trusted advisor.