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Michael Dell On Coronavirus: ‘Customers And Partners Need Us More Than Ever’

“Our supply chain is in relatively good shape, particularly in notebooks where we think that’s certainly a place where we’re seeing demand shortages because of the work from home strategy,” said Dell CEO Michael Dell in an interview with CRN.

IT legend and Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell says he’s never seen anything have such a significant impact on the IT industry as the coronavirus pandemic in his 35-year career, which is causing a spike in Dell remote-worker solutions.

“Having done this for 35 years or so, I’ve seen a lot of things,” said Dell in an interview with CRN. “There’s been nothing really like this. So the whole work-from-home movement is something our customers need a lot of help with. … Customers and partners need us more than ever.”

Dell said his $92 billion Round Rock, Tex.-based company is “well prepared” for a dramatic increase in demand for PCs and notebooks as more and more employees will be working from home for the foreseeable future.

“Our supply chain is in relatively good shape, particularly in notebooks where we think that’s certainly a place where we’re seeing demand shortages because of the work from home strategy,” said Dell. “We are actively helping our customers and partners with solutions, not just the products. Because it’s not just as simple as, ‘Okay, here’s your computer, go work from home.’ There’s a lot more involved in how do you get teams to collaborative, be productive, share information and recreate the incidental communications and collaboration that occurs when people are physically together.”

[Related: Michael Dell On Virtual Dell Technologies World: ‘The Show Must Go On’]

Dell channel partners are seeing an uptick in remote worker technologies such as Dell laptops and teleconferencing products as partners are spending more time helping customers work securely at home.

Rick Gouin, chief technology officer for Winslow Technology Group, a Waltham, Mass-based Dell Technologies partner, said customers are “stocking up in IT.”

“We have some large institutions now that are trying to make sure they get all their workers laptops in the event that they have to work remotely,” said Gouin. “I have some school systems and organizations that have traditional office workers now looking to place urgent laptop orders so that they can get laptops out to all of their workers who were previously stationary.”

Dell said the overall business impact of the deadly coronavirus is still fluid and unknown as the number of cases and deaths continue to climb worldwide.

“There’s a lot of unknowns in this situation that we’re all doing the best we can and supporting our customers,” said Dell. “I’ll tell you, the demand for work-from-home solutions is very strong.”

Although home and remote worker solutions are becoming critical to businesses due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. IDC this week lowered its IT spending forecast for 2020. The research firm expects to see a “significant slowdown” in hardware sales along with software and services spending, lowering its original IT spending growth expectation this year from 5 percent to 1 percent year over year.

The coronavirus has dramatically affected the IT world – from component shortages, stock market plummets and vendor sales declines -- not to mention the canceling of major industry conferences across the globe.

For the first time in its history, Dell switched its highly popular Dell Technologies World conference in Las Vegas this year to a virtual event due to coronavirus concerns. More than 14,000 people attended Dell Technologies World 2019.

Dell said there will be no change in terms of major announcements around new products and strategy being made during the event, which will run from May 4 to May 7.

“Every single announcement – sort of the meat of the event – will absolutely occur, even if we’re not all together in beautiful Las Vegas,” said Dell.

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