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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Pick of the Week: Dell’s SMB Integrated Cloud Front Office

Solution for End-to-End Lead-to-Cash Workflow

As part of our Pick of the Week series, we requested an online demonstration of what sounded to be too easy, and were privy to a demo of Dell’s DCBA (Dell Cloud Business Applications) to see the lead to cash process from building customer awareness to sales contract. We were impressed at how far the industry, and Dell, has come in the last few years at solving the practical challenges around marketing and sales integration. Dell is providing enterprise-level CRM capabilities to SMBs that might have run into seven figures (and a year-long implementation) only 10 years ago. And going even further by tying all this front-office activity together with accounting to synchronize invoicing and billing into the process, insuring that sales staff can be paid without spending 12 hours a week updating their CRM records, and Finance does not have to chase down account managers for collections and accounts receivable updates on the 29th of every month.

Small and Mid-Market Companies Choose Online CRM as the Shortest Path to Revenue

SMB CRM Integration

The killer Enterprise Application to emerge at the end of the Client/Server era was CRM, which spawned a huge ecosystem of sales process, configuration and customization experts. The next step was online CRM solutions led by Salesforce.com, a true multi-tenant architecture and Cloud ecosystem in and of itself. The ample supply of CRM expertise, along with the market needs to generate revenue as quickly as possible resulted in a wave of online CRM start ups and then pure-play Marketing Automation vendors that were eager to plug into the accelerating number of customers opting for a services model.

 

Falling Through the Cracks

Even with the best CRM software and a lot of customization, even for those who spent the most on these systems, and especially large organizations, getting to a state of accurate and current information has always been a challenge. The perpetrators tend to be too many steps in the process, unclear roles and responsibilities, limitations in the software that force workarounds, ineffective hand-off of customer relationships, different levels of process and software maturity, and many others. Much of this was caused by contention for capital budgets, the complexity and expense of internal systems integration and never being able to get ahead of the technology curve, resulting in a large percentage of CRM implementations failing outright. Properly selected and integrated Cloud-based Applications like this one from Dell have already gone a long way to eliminate many of these challenges by offering a shared customer database approach from the very beginning.

Dell SMB Lead to Cash Application

 

Following the image above, it is quickly apparent that the demand and supply cycles are covered by this approach: Lead to Opportunity, to Proposal, to Customer Support, which is good for the customer. The internal operational cycle is also enabled from Marketing to Sales to Invoicing and Billing, to Customer Service, which makes life a lot easier for everyone involved.

Dell End to End SMB SalesThe demonstration was recorded and we have included relevant excerpts that follow the process. Dell offers Pardot, a leading Marketing Automation Solution for marketing which connects automatically to Salesforce.com by synchronizing User-IDs from each component, in less than a minute. Sales Funnel, Alerts, Dashboard, Forecast are coordinated out-of-the-box, and rules are customizable between the applications.

Next comes Conga, which merges customer information, selected products and services, proposal template and cover letter into a print-ready quotation that shares all data with the appropriate customer and pipeline records.

EchoSign, an e-Signature solution from Adobe follows, allowing the customer to authorize the order securely and purchase immediately, which is always a good thing in Sales.

The next part of the solution solves the ever-present issue of ensuring the Sales and Accounting Systems contain and report the same information. This is accomplished using the process integration presented below:

 



Dell SMB Lead to Cash Process Automation 1 from Techaisle on Vimeo.

 

As shown in the image, the same information that is incrementally collected throughout the marketing and sales process is used to auto-populate the agreement, invoice and collections data within the accounting package, for our demo, this was done using QuickBooks Online, one of several pre-configured packaged integrations that do not require manual intervention except for company-specific policies and table structures.

Again, seeing it is more impressive than reading about it:



Dell SMB Lead to Cash Process Automation 2 from Techaisle on Vimeo.

What was the name of your company again?

The benefits of sharing information between Marketing, Sales and Accounting are equally or more important with Customer Service, which is the lifeblood of all companies’ online reputation these days. Taking the data one step further into customer service affords the advantage of having the full customer history at your fingertips while fielding support calls – which provides a higher level of satisfaction and smarter service capabilities.

 



Dell SMB Lead to Cash Process Automation 3 from Techaisle on Vimeo.

 

Why this is Important

This is important because it goes back to some basic principles that improve information system management, including:

Move Data, don’t type it more than once. Whether using drop downs to input categories and exact descriptions or whole sections of records or groups of records, moving data will result in fewer errors than typing it into the system. In addition to the accuracy this offers, it eliminates a lot of the drudgery associated with maintaining CRM systems and allows sales people to get back to selling.

Build Information Incrementally. Capturing the same data repeatedly will annoy customers and staff, records should be built up over time and sections of data moved to populate application modules as they are brought online. Dell’s solution does this through progressive web forms for customer records and by sharing data between marketing, sales, accounting and customer service.

Centralize Data. Trying to manage multiple customer databases is confusing, inefficient and causes a lot of frustration. Accuracy, Consistency, Reliability and Timeless are hallmarks of data quality and all suffer from running disparate databases of the same information. While data tends to take on a life of its’ own with volume and increased usage, starting with a design that shares information between systems will eliminate problems down the line and can actually give Small and Mid-Market businessesan advantage over Enterprise customers who have been wrestling with huge CRM database and internal IT for the past 15 years.     

Keep it Simple, Get Going Fast. In a recent survey 77% of SMB complained that even there has been a lot of progress in the past few years, complexity managing IT has grown faster than the problems it is designed to eliminate. SMBs want to spend money on revenue generating activities and reducing costs, which means focus on the core business, not hiring people to manage IT adoption that cannot stay engaged full time on building the business. We were surprised at how easily this whole integrated solution came online, easy enough for a power user to manage and available to use in a matter of days, quicker for those who are familiar with CRM systems.  The Dell solution comes with fixed fee, fixed scope implementation services for all of the applications they sell, making it easy for SMBs to get going quickly with a single vendor for support.

The Bottom Line

Dell’s DCBA solution was announced last September and has come a long way since introduction. In this example the demo provisioned a new account without need for any coding; userIDs tied Sales and Marketing together.  Customers signed the necessary paperwork and and Invoicing data was moved automatically once the new account was opened in QuickBooks. For small and medium sized organizations, finding ways to make best use of their IT investments-- to streamline their sales processes, as in this example here, can be the path to increased sales and help them realize greater business success, and is certainly much easier and cost effective than it used to be.

 

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Dell Executes on its plan for end-to-end Desktop Virtualization

In a small gathering of analysts and media , Dell showcased and unveiled its latest end-to-end desktop virtualization capabilities. The announcement was carefully crafted to time with the VMworld event being held in San Francisco next week. During the entire two hour “Chalk Talk” by Dell team, SMB was mentioned only three times and mid-market design point (Dell’s new mantra unfolded at its analyst event earlier in the year) was never mentioned at all. However, the importance, urgency, messaging and relevancy were clear and precise.

The announcements included Dell EqualLogic intelligent datacenter storage arrays with SSD tier & spinning media, Dell Wyse zero clients, and Dell DVS Enterprise reference architectures including vStart for VDI Reference Architecture – VMware View, Dell Mobile Clinical Computing - VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care™ Reference Architecture and New Dell DVS Enterprise –VMware Mobile Secure Desktop Reference Architecture.

Simplified, Manageable, Secure End-to-End Desktop Virtualization solution that SMBs will appreciate

Kicking off the discussions, Rafael Colorado, Marketing Director, Dell Desktop Virtualization Solutions, said, “Customers have to face complexity and try to implement desktop virtualization themselves and get stuck. Dell is trying to isolate components that create complexity”. The statement summarizes the technology pain-point being experienced by SMBs in adopting emerging technologies. Techaisle’s July 2012 survey of 3300 SMBs in US, UK, Germany found that 72 percent of SMBs want vendors to simplify technology and 61 percent are ignoring some technologies because they are finding the decision making to be too complex.

Hence, simplification in any form will be a step in the right direction. The same survey also showed that Virtualization is among the Top 5 relevant technologies for SMBs but is also among the Top 5 technologies most complex to understand. Dell is serving up simplification in the form of single SKU, an end-to-end virtualization solution that is manageable, secure, innovative, and intelligent and with one contact phone number. vStart for VDI Reference Architecture – VMware View runs as a workload on top of the Dell vStart stack, offering flexibility and efficiency enabling the organization to focus on driving enhanced business agility and delivering IT assets – rather than building an infrastructure. vStart for VDI 50 is already available from Dell for no-stress SMB deployments. The vStart for VDI 50, is a pre-configured solution for SMBs scaling from sub-100 up to 250 users per system and vStart for VDI 1000 for businesses that scales from 1000 up to 1,000 – 4, 000 users per system. In fact, Techaisle’s SMB VDI Adoption and Trends study shows that of all the SMBs planning to deploy VDI, 37 percent will have between 20 to 50 users.

Drivers of SMB Desktop Virtualization adoption and Dell’s solution components

The drivers of desktop virtualization are many, but the top five as mentioned in recent Techaisle survey of 1200 SMBs in the US are:


SMBs are planning to use VDI to reduce costs, better disaster recovery, and access of applications from anywhere and on any device in a secure infrastructure. Reduction in costs and better disaster recovery are considered to be inherent outcomes of virtualization deployments.

Dell EqualLogic Intelligent Data Center Storage Solution

Dell EqualLogic new storage arrays (available in Q4) are its densest hybrid storage arrays for tiered I/O in a single appliance. Through built-in auto-tiering algorithms, it creates automatic load balancing and puts out the most frequently used data on SSDs thereby “providing 360 percent improvement in array access and 75 percent reduction in latency lowering the manageability for desktop virtualization deployments”.  For a mid-market business, and specifically for verticals such as healthcare, financial services and even manufacturing these would be of great advantage. The solution component helps in cost reduction and application availability (1 and 2 above in chart).

Dell Wyse Zero Clients

Dell Wyse zero clients P25 and P45 designed specifically for VMware View implementations provides better manageability, security and mobile access to data and applications. The P25 uses Tera 2 processor and can move 50 million pixels to the screen. It supports Ethernet, wireless and fiber unlike other zero clients. The P25 can support 1920 x 1280-pxiel resolution for two displays or 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution for one display. The P45 can be used to support up to four displays. The solution component helps in application availability, mobile access and secure data (3, 4 and 5 above in chart).

Dell DVS Enterprise - VMware Mobile Secure Desktop and Dell Mobile Clinical Computing - VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care™ Reference Architectures

Dell and VMware have also jointly validated the Dell Mobile Clinical Computing for VMware AlwaysOn Point of Care™ offering with VMware View. Powered by Dell’s Mobile Clinical Computing solution, this architectural design incorporates a number of features to ensure data integrity as well as minimal disruption in computing service to the caregiver, including: constant monitoring, secure rapid access, single sign on and constant data replication across sites. With this validated architectural design, healthcare organizations now have unparalleled desktop and application reliability and availability – and secure rapid access from virtually any device.

Conclusion

SMBs are quickly recognizing the need to adopt virtualization within their businesses, however, they also find it complex to understand and implement. Complexity comes from inherent questions SMBs ask themselves and their advisors: What can virtualization do for us? Which virtualization technology is best for us? How should we implement it so that we get the most benefits in the shortest period of time? Who can help us implement it? Nevertheless as per Techaisle research, VDI market in the US alone will be US$588 million in 2016 growing at 41 percent CAGR.

Most SMBs rely on their local channel partners for maintenance & management of their IT infrastructure as well as for advice on new IT purchases. Therefore, Dell created a new Desktop Virtualization Solution competency based on feedback from  its network of 100,000 channel partners to provide them appropriate training and skills to sell and manage VDI for their local SMB customers.

In the meantime, with its latest desktop virtualization offerings Dell is continuing to execute on its vision of an end-to-end, best-of-breed solutions company.

Anurag Agrawal
Techaisle
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Power to Do More meets Simplicity at Work

Dell (Power to Do More) is buying Quest Software (Simplicity at Work) for US$2.4B, its second largest acquisition after Perot Systems. Combining power and simplicity is not easy to achieve but is a potent combination if done successfully. And throwing Wyse and SonicWALL in the mix can lead to a catalytic reaction in the right direction that may become hard to contain and beat. It is all in the execution, messaging and channel commitment.

A lot has already been written about how the Quest acquisition is a brilliant move by Dell to augment its software portfolio and complete its end-to-end solutions offerings from PC hardware, servers to security, storage, software, datacenters and integrated datacenters. It is not important to know, understand, praise or fault Dell for how vWorkspace will fit into its partnership with Citrix or VMware, or how Quest’s Identity management will be combined with SonicWALL or how Dell will address Windows migration with Quest tools and on, and on. What is important to understand is that Dell is demonstrating its steady and unflinching commitment to be an end-to-end solutions company for enterprises, SMBs, government and education segments.  Dell gets it.

Following the announcements we had the opportunity to speak with senior executives at two of Quest’s partners, dinCloud and En Pointe Technologies; Ali Din, Senior Vice President and CMO, dinCloud and Naveed Khan, Director, Vendor Management at En Pointe. dinCloud provides hosted desktop and server services and En Pointe is a Quest software VAR. On one hand, dinCloud is eager to start a relationship with Dell, whereas on the other, En Pointe, already a Premier partner of Dell has had some preliminary discussions with Dell. They are at two spectrums of the same light and both are excited about the opportunities that can be explored, exploited and consolidated with Dell as a vendor.

There was a common refrain of hope and aspiration from both dinCloud and En Pointe. Quest has lots of business units; most of the times these units and their products are not integrated with each other. The hope is that Dell will be able to assimilate and integrate the business units and products quickly. And both were unflinching in their commitment to Dell and for that matter even other vendor partnerships they have. Committed partners have the capacity to make the ‘power to do more’ and ‘simplicity at work’ even more noticeable. Combined Dell and Quest can solve big problems for IT with products and solutions that are simple to use.

Techaisle’s recent survey shows that 72 percent of SMBs agree that IT vendors should work towards simplifying technology. 54 percent also mention that their technology pain points have increased in the last 3 years and 44 percent agree that technology has become more complex to understand now as compared to 3 years ago. To these SMBs Dell may want so say, “we give you the power to do more combined with simplicity for your business”.

Anurag Agrawal
Techaisle
@anuragtechaisle
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Dell confirms its position as an end-to-end solutions company

End-to-End Solutions Company
Convincing conference, unified messaging from all executives, substantial customer success stories including SMBs, considerable partner alliance conversations, convergence showcase, expanding geographic footprint, emerging technologies, mid-market design point, and end-to-end solutions story. What can I say?

At the recently held Dell Annual Analyst Conference, in Austin, the centerpiece of messaging was Dell’s relentless pursuit to be an end-to-end IT solutions provider and a trusted partner. Michael Dell in his conversation with the analysts proved that Dell has changed the conversation from product to services.

“Many new change vectors are going on - Data centers are becoming server centric/compute centric, networking is being combined with computing and storage and security are becoming one – Dell has the ability to understand where the puck is going”, said Michael Dell. To that extent Dell is busy building products and solutions from which customers can capture value.

Dell has made 20 acquisitions since 2008 to build a solutions delivery capability. Its R&D, which is increasingly being focused on storage, server, security and networking convergence went up by 40 percent in the last year alone.  A key aspect of the strategy is to develop converged solutions that include storage, security, servers and wrapping it all together with services and deliver end user solutions that help customers compute in environments with pervasive data access.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since his return as CEO, Michael Dell has steadily moved Dell into new areas for higher growth and profitability. Although Dell’s revenue has remained within a narrow margin, growing by only 1.5% from 2008 to 2012, its net income after taxes has grown by 18.5% within the same time period. Dell today has greater diversity in its solution offerings and broader geographic footprint. Both storage and security are higher margin products and with the acquisition of EqualLogic, Compellent and recently SonicWall, Dell’s margin story continues to improve.

Dell’s end-to-end solutions story is also beginning to look complete with portfolio having evolved from PCs and servers to services. Dell’s software portfolio is not where it should be but Dell is building out its capabilities for on premise software, cloud applications and software embedded in hardware. Consistent with the overall theme it wants to offer software solutions that are easier to buy, easier to use and easier to extract value.



 

 

Even the channels organization is perfectly aligned and focused on continuing to grow its PartnerDirect program that was started five years ago and is now approximately US$14 billion business for Dell. The channel’s organization headed by Greg Davis is continuing to make its rules of engagement very partner friendly and empowering and training its channels to provide value to their customers. Greg is ensuring that there is consistent
channel engagement across both mature and emerging markets with deal registration, compensation neutrality and executive priority. With over 135,000 training modules delivered in the last year alone it aims to provide simplicity, enablement and a strategy to win datacenters together. To take advantage of new social media networking platforms, Dell has also launched a new social media training program for its channel partners. The training program, developed based on Dell’s own experiences, provides its channel partners access to a number of useful social media tools and tips, including links to all of PartnerDirect’s social media platforms, a Q&A forum, registrations for both a live virtual training session and on-demand refresher courses.

Executing on its vision
Dell’s vision is being driven by five key market dynamics:

  1. Emerging markets growth

  2. Consumerization of IT

  3. Explosion of data

  4. Alternative computing platforms

  5. Corporate IT complexity



Dell has not only been able to integrate the businesses it has acquired but also has successfully scaled them. Dell Boomi, a middleware for cloud, originally acquired for its ability to bring cloud integration to SMBs, is equally at home in large enterprises. A  recent example is OneWorld Alliance which has implemented a new information technology (IT) hub based on Dell Boomi AtomSphere cloud integration, designed to substantially reduce complexity, cost and time involved in linking new member airlines into the alliance.

SMBs' "CIO in a box"
Whenever an IT vendor presents customer stories I look for sincerity in the customer’s dialog and contribution of the IT vendor to customer’s success. Current Motor, an Ann Arbor, Michigan based SMB stole the show and my heart. With only 12 employees it uses full end-to-end solutions from Dell in the most interesting yet fundamental ways. Remember that it is only a small business; nevertheless Dell put a team together to bring to fruition integration with salesforce.com and digital dashboard enablement of Electric Scooters six months sooner than expected. Solutions used – mobility, cloud, hardware, software, services. As Laura Flanagan, Executive Chairman, Current Motor put it, “Dell is her CIO in a box.” And it all started with Laura approaching Dell with a business pain point. The result -- sincerity in dialog and value-add by Dell.

As Dave Johnson, SVP, Corporate Strategy said in his presentation, the “heart of the customer is the CIO.” No worries, SMBs, if you do not have a CIO, Dell can play that role for you.

Next Steps for Dell

  • The entire Dell team has to work harder to get its messaging and capabilities heard by its current and potential customers because I feel Dell’s end-to-end
    solutions story has not yet reached the crescendo it deserves

  • By focusing on mid-market design point Dell should not forget that small businesses have different needs and the last thing they want is a scaled-down version of product meant for mid-market businesses. Other IT vendors have tried in the past with zero to limited success

  • Dell should formulate and articulate its mobile strategy beyond its planned introduction of tablets and smartphones, especially for the SMB segment that are adopting mobility solutions faster than enterprises

  • Technology pain points have now overtaken business pain points for SMBs. Dell can be that unique IT Vendor that helps SMBs sort out and identify relevant technology options (cloud, mobility, infrastructure, managed services, virtualization, social media, business intelligence, marketing automation) by becoming a trusted advisor and business consultant


Anurag Agrawal
Techaisle
  0 Comments

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