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Dell Unleashes Its As-A-Service Strategy With Project Apex

‘This is how we sell products, how we market products, how we build products, how we finance products—the whole end-to-end value chain is moving toward Project Apex,’ says Dell Technologies’ Sam Grocott.

Dell Technologies is lifting the curtain on its long-term as-a-service strategy that will impact the way Dell develops future products, sells solutions to customers and enables channel partners to drive recurring revenue.

Project Apex aims to simplify how customers and channel partners access Dell’s as-a-service portfolio, from servers and hyperconverged infrastructure to PCs and client offerings, starting with the launch of Dell Technologies Storage as a Service.

“Directionally, this is the way the industry is going,” said Scott Winslow, president of Winslow Technology Group, a Waltham, Mass.-based Dell Titanium partner and 2020 CRN Triple Crown award winner. “If you look at buying patterns, more and more customers are looking to buy as a service. It simply takes a capital expense and becomes an operating expense. Customers are looking for flexibility to easily and quickly expand, and that’s what as a service does. It’s taking a lot from public-cloud-type consumption models.”

[Related: Dell Technologies World 2020: 8 Biggest Announcements]

By 2024, more than 75 percent of infrastructure at the edge and over 50 percent of all data center infrastructure will be consumed as a service, according to research firm IDC.

Project Apex will unify Dell Technologies’ as-a-service and cloud strategies, technology offerings and go-to-market efforts to provide a consistent experience wherever a workload runs, including on-premises, at the edge or in public clouds.

Sam Grocott, senior vice president of product marketing at Dell Technologies, said Project Apex is the culmination of years of work from Dell around as-a-service and consumption-based offerings, which will become the driving factor both externally and internally at Dell.

“This is directionally where we’re going with the portfolio that will bring those solutions together and allow us to simplify not only how we message and deliver these solutions to customers, but even internally—this is a transformation across the company,” said Grocott. “This is how we sell products, how we market products, how we build products, how we finance products—the whole end-to-end value chain is moving toward Project Apex. … It will ultimately deliver the industry’s most flexible and simplest as-a-service experience for on-premises infrastructure.”

Dell Technologies already has over 2,000 as-a-service customers, according to Grocott. The company’s as-a-service run rate stands at $1.3 billion as of Dell’s second fiscal quarter, up 30 percent year over year.

The company unveiled Project Apex Wednesday at its virtual Dell Technologies World Digital Experience conference, where Dell also announced the first as-a-service offering for Project Apex: Dell Technologies Storage as a Service.

Dell’s new Storage as a Service is an on-premises as-a-service portfolio of scalable and elastic storage resources that will offer block and file data services and a broad range of enterprise-class features. Storage as a Service, which will become generally available in the first half of 2021, is a turnkey managed service that will be provided by Dell Technologies or a channel partner.

Another significant launch for Project Apex is the new Dell Technologies Cloud Console. The console provides customers with a single, self-service online interface to manage every aspect of their cloud and as-a-service strategy.

“Customers will be able to browse a marketplace, choose which cloud products and services and solutions they want, then actually order and transact an as-a-service solution for their business,” said Grocott. “Our customers are also going to be able to deploy workloads and manage multi-cloud resources, they’re going to be able to monitor their costs in real time and add cloud and as-a-service solutions with just a few clicks.”

Winslow said Dell is better enabling channel partners to turn traditional data center sales into recurring revenue.

“In the past, data center was a capital acquisition and you might refresh in three or five years, which means you have an opportunity for recurring revenue three or five years out. A lot of the times the answer was to sell a lease, then you have the opportunity when the lease expires to refresh that solution with services. What’s exciting for all partners is partners are looking to increase the amount of recurring revenue they’re doing like with subscription sales,” said Winslow. “The more recurring revenue you have as an IT solution provider, the better off you are. It’s easier for your salespeople to hit quotas and you have more value as a company. As a partner, as a service is going to increase recurring revenue. When you can make your revenue more reliable, that’s a good thing.”

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell plans to add many more as-a-service offerings to Project Apex in the future such as PC as a Service, Compute as a Service and Data Protection as a Service. Dell will also extend Project Apex vertically, “so look for solutions such as SAP as a Service or VDI as a Service that will start to come out as well over time,” said Grocott.

Dell Technologies World Digital Experience conference runs from Oct. 21 to Oct. 22.

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