Despite go-private challenges, many analysts are bullish on Dell's future especially when it comes to growth areas of the company such as servers. Dell posted its highest-ever share of the global server market, 18.8 percent, as competitors IBM and Hewlett-Packard lost share, according to IDC. Moorhead said Dell as a private company will have a lot more freedom to gain share over HP and IBM.
"Dell can now subsidize their server pricing by driving attach for storage and networking that has much higher margins," Moorhead said.
Channel partners say Dell has been taking the right steps, moving away from commodity PC sales and helping VARs offer a more complete hardware and software solution. "We are heavily invested in Dell as a compute and storage partner," said Dante Orsini, vice president of business development at Iland, a Dell partner.
So far, Orsini said, Dell hasn’t effectively move into cloud computing. The challenge for Dell is productizing cloud services that can be integrated into the company's larger service and hardware offerings.
Since Michael Dell returned to his namesake company in 2007 as CEO he has tried to capitalize on trends in cloud, mobility, virtualization, software defined networking and data center products and services. He has found moderate success, along with missteps such as the 2010 release of the Dell Streak 5 tablet.
Dell must now focus on industry shifts and at the same time bring over 20 company acquisitions in the past three years into a unified service offering to Dell channel partners and customers, said Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.
Cindy Shaw, research analyst at Discern, believes with Michael Dell the company has a best chance at future success but the company faces big internal challenges.
"Unlike IBM, with a successful track record of acquiring companies and integrating them into their business, Dell's track record is mixed," wrote Shaw in an email exchange with CRN.
But for now, Michael Dell and his allies can enjoy a important victory. For the first time since it went public 25 years ago, Dell is expects to be a private company by the end of October.
PUBLISHED SEPT. 12, 2013