Partners: Dell Chromebook Has Makings Of A Big Hit In The Enterprise

Its size is perfect for employees on the road, and wider standardization of Google apps could make Dell's new Chromebook for business users a big hit, partners say.

Partners say the new Chromebook could be an important component in Dell's strategy to sell solutions across the entire stack.

"Dell continues to want to drive the entire stack, from devices to enterprise solutions, while others appear to be splitting those two businesses," said Dan Serpico, president and CEO of Dell partner FusionStorm, No. 47 on CRN's 2015 Solution Provider 500.

[Related: Partners: Dell Addressing Huge Opportunity With Wireless Firewall Upgrades]

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Chromebooks run on Google's Chrome operating system, and have been popular among consumers and certain business sectors, but haven't really taken off in the enterprise, where applications like Microsoft Office are often required, partners said.

Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategy at Ontario, Calif.-based Dell partner Sigmanet, said he was once skeptical about the prospects for Chromebooks in the enterprise, but he's coming around. "Logic would tell you this would probably fail," Monteros told CRN. "But with everything Google's been doing around their apps, I see a niche play, but I can also see widespread adoption in medical, retail. We're starting to see people standardize on apps, and standardization on apps is where these things go."

Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Dell partner, said Chromebooks have been a "big-time" success in the education market, and he anticipates they could find success in enterprises where buyers are keen to buy all their products from one source.

"It varies by client, but a lot of buyers feel comfortable buying one brand," Goldstein told CRN. "Dell servers, Dell workstations, laptops -- and be able to go to that one source. The larger the organization, the bigger the perception is that they should have the same brand all the way through."

Dell is offering its Chromebook 13 with Intel's Core i5 chip, between 2 GB and 8 GB of memory, up to 32 GB of onboard storage and as much as 12 hours of battery life. The machines start at $399 and top out at about $899, Dell said.

When the Chromebook 13 becomes available in the U.S. on Sept. 17, Dell authorized resellers will be able to sell it through the Dell Partner Direct channel program.

David Wrenn, vice president at Branford, Conn.-based Dell partner Advanced Office Systems Inc., said the new Chromebook should be a good fit for businesses, and that there's real potential for channel success with a Chromebook product that's secure and powerful enough for business users.

"I think we can sell this machine to business customers," Wrenn said. "Especially since Dell addressed the security side of things with this machine. The 13-inch size is perfect for a road warrior that needs access to a server via remote desktop or thin client computing or to cloud-based apps and email. All this without the limitations of a tablet or phone."