Dell's fiscal second-quarter results were mixed. Net income dropped 72 percent and revenue was flat compared with the prior year. Since then it's been on an acquisition spree, buying 25 companies to build out networking, software and services businesses. Notable buys include Quest Software, Perot Systems, Force 10 Networks and Wyse Technologies. One of its biggest hurdles is to retool itself into an all-around provider of hardware, software and services, similar to rivals IBM and HP, except to keep a focus primarily on the midmarket.
Davis told CRN it has had some success, but combining those acquisitions into cohesive "integrated systems" will be a long road. Davis said it could be a two- to three-year journey. "We have acquired multiple companies in the last 18 months. Each one of them has had different deals, tools and portals. If partners want to sell a complete Dell solution today you have to use three different tools. It's not ideal," he said. "Our commitment is making Dell the easiest partner to work with. And we are getting there."