Dimension Data Revamps Cloud Approach, Hires Industry Vet To Connect The Dots


Dimension Data has furthered its commitment to the cloud by bringing on 25-year industry veteran Tina Gravel to be the company's first vice president and general manager of cloud services for the Americas, the company said Tuesday. Although Gravel started her job in January, the news was kept under wraps until she had fully established a strategy for the company, she said.

Employees in all cloud-services-related business units throughout the Americas will now report to Gravel, who reports directly to Americas CEO Mark Slaga. This shift will give greater unity and accountability to Dimension Data's cloud offerings, Gravel said in an interview with CRN.

"We have all these wonderful things, the raw materials. ... I see this huge potential. ... It's not just a thing where we're going to be [just] another cloud provider. We are late to market but we absolutely have something better. I'm confident in that," Gravel said.

[Related: Dimension Data Acquires European Solution Provider NextiraOne]

It's not that Dimension Data's cloud product isn't there, Gravel said, it just needs to be connected more thoroughly to the services side of the business as well as reinforced with a marketing and sales campaign. "[Dimension Data has] a strong background in ... lots of things that enterprise customers require. What we could do better is make a linkage between the cloud product and what we do and the established services that bring value to our clients," she said. "It's just a matter of making sure those offerings are well connected."

The new position is less about a need to grow the engineering side of the cloud, Gravel said, as it is about refocusing and ramping up the company's cloud efforts around a single point of ownership and responsibility.

"It wasn’t like anyone did anything wrong; it just needed focus," Gravel said. "I can tell you for a fact, if I do my job this need for focus will go away. It will become pervasive across every business unit we have. Cloud is a style of computing, and it's just one more way to deliver the great things we do. We have to focus on it for a while so it's engineered into all these other things. In order to do that, you have to have someone who owns it."

"When you come into a new place, everyone wants to meet customers and partners. I've been trying to hold off until I had a clear strategy of what we wanted to do," Gravel said. "It's not done yet, but I'm starting to get a clear idea of what I want to do."

Gravel, a former executive at Terremark and the now-shuttered Nirvanix, said there are a host of initiatives in the works at Dimension Data that will impact the channel. "There's going to be lots of announcements, lots of exciting things [to come]," she said.

PUBLISHED FEB. 25, 2014