Dell VARs: Going Private Provides Breathing Room To Focus On Enterprise


In a way, Dell's Thursday announcement seems like old news, said Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and Dell partner.

"People pretty much already felt this was a done deal after Icahn ended his battle," Tanenhaus said. "So there was no surprise."

Scott Winslow, president of Winslow Technology Group, a Boston-based solution provider and Dell partner, felt similarly.

"The vote was a little anti-climatic," Winslow said.

But, no surprise does not mean no excitement, solution providers said.

Tanenhaus and Winslow on Thursday were among a couple hundred partners and users attending the Dell Healthcare Partner Forum, which, by coincidence, was being held the same day the shareholder's vote was scheduled.

"People here are glad it's over," Tanenhaus said. "Now Dell can focus on how to go to market and not focus on politics."

Winslow said that, after the vote, a Dell executive walked on stage and announced "Dell is now the largest startup in the U.S."

Prior to that, Tanenhaus said, Dell executives seemed to be in a "huddle room" waiting for the results and then deciding what to say.

Dell has a lot to do now that the vote is done, solution providers said.

Priority No. 1 is to continue integrating its various acquisitions, Winslow said.

"Dell has to put everything together," Winslow said. "But it didn't need to do that while worrying about Wall Street and its short-term focus. This will give Dell a long-term focus, and allow them to create value for customers."

Dell has the solution set to make it happen, Winslow said. "As an integrator, I can look my customers in the eye and say, we have the best server architecture with Dell. I couldn't look customers in the eye four years ago and say that. But, now I can say I have the best server products, have switches as good as those from Cisco and Hewlett-Packard, have great storage, have the best security technology. I think Dell will be a force to be reckoned with."

A Dell executive on stage at Winslow Technology Group's Dell user conference explained what Dell was trying to do by using a hockey analogy, Winslow said.

"The exec told us, 'It's like hockey. Wall Street looks at where the puck is, but you have to go where the puck will be. Going private allows us to do that,'" he said.

Dell's focus has been diluted a bit while the technology industry changes quickly, and Michael Dell has been fighting to take back his company, making the final vote an exciting time, Xylotek's Douglas wrote.

"Far too few large tech manufacturers remember what the little guy needs, the local or regional VAR, to say nothing of the actual end customer," he wrote.

Kristin Bent and Tom Spring contributed to this story.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 12, 2013