Dell Reorganizes Software Group, Reduces Software Workforce

Dell has quietly reorganized its software business into four new business units -- and no longer has a separate business unit for the company's data protection software, including its popular AppAssure solution, Dell solution providers told CRN.

The reorganization, which occurred last month, also led to layoffs in Dell's data protection software team, solution providers said. An email from a former Dell employee, shown to CRN by a solution provider, said the entire field team for data protection software was laid off in October.

But although the reorganization comes as Dell looks forward to closing its acquisition of EMC, channel sources said the reshuffling does not appear related to that acquisition.

[Related: Scenes From Dell World 2015: What Will Be After The Deal With EMC?]

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Round Rock, Texas-based Dell confirmed in an email to CRN that the company had rearranged its three previous business units into four, citing the need to streamline its software business after multiple acquisitions. A Dell spokesperson confirmed there were layoffs resulting from the reorganization, but declined to offer specific numbers.

When the Dell Software Group was formed in 2012, it was organized around three technology domains -- security, information management and systems management -- under current Dell Software President John Swainson. Now the Dell Software Group is built around four business units: Systems and Information Management (SIM); Security Solutions; Boomi; and Statsoft.

SIM is led by Tom Joyce, vice president and general manager for Dell systems and information management. Included in SIM is such Dell software as Dell Data Protection, based on Dell's 2012 acquisition of AppAssure. Also included are data protection applications NetVault Backup and vRanger, both of which came from Dell's 2012 acquisition of Quest Software.

Security Solutions is led by Curtis Hutcheson, vice president and general manager for Dell security; Boomi is led by General Manager Chris McNabb; and Statsoft is led by General Manager John Thompson.

Dell in 2010 acquired Boomi, a developer of SaaS application integration services to help move data and applications between cloud and on-premises systems. Dell last year acquired StatSoft, which specializes in predictive big data analytics for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.

In the emailed response to CRN, a Dell spokesperson wrote that the Dell Software Group's 2012 formation targeted customers with consistent, streamlined systems as part of a "one Dell" customer-facing organization.

The reorganization into four new business units is the "next phase of [Dell's] evolution" and a way to "design, market, sell and support our products to best serve our customers," the spokesperson wrote.

"We’ve taken steps to optimize our business, streamline operations and improve efficiency on a continuing basis over the past few years. We continually review our operations in an effort to remain competitive and determine where we can add the most value to customers," the spokesperson wrote.

The spokesperson also wrote that, while Dell does not comment on "speculation" or operating decisions based on specific Dell businesses or sites, "We’re currently in the process of hiring an additional 2,000 sales makers globally ... in order to better serve customers."

Dell in the past appears to have been allocating resources evenly across the Dell Software Group instead of allocating them where the company sees the most potential for growth, said one Dell solution provider who requested anonymity.

"My guess is that Dell knew it needed to realign its software resources for a long time," the solution provider said.

The solution provider said there has been little impact on the channel since the reorganization, other than that many of the people who provided support to partners are no longer there.

A second Dell solution provider, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Dell software teams also lost several people on the sales side who may not have been making their expected sales goals. For this solution provider, the primary impact of the reorganization has been on planned sales campaigns.

"We had campaigns running, and then the people working with us disappeared overnight," the solution provider said. "They told no one they were leaving. So Dell assigned a troubleshooter."

Both solution providers told CRN the Dell Software Group reorganization does not appear to be related to Dell's planned acquisition of storage king EMC.

"The reorganization was already in motion when the EMC acquisition was announced," the second solution provider said. "But downstream, no one knows for sure."

The reorganization seems to have been done without thought of the EMC acquisition, the first solution provider said. Even so, a much larger reorganization can be expected once the acquisition closes.

"With EMC, we'll see a different realignment," the first solution provider said. "The acquisition will make a very formidable organization. And with Dell's server business moving to Hopkinton, Mass., after the acquisition to be closer to EMC, I'm not sure what will happen. I think AppAssure will remain after the acquisition, but vRanger might fall away. Dell's data protection business has been doing well, and I expect it to mesh into EMC to become a real powerhouse."