Dell: Working will never quite be the same

Vendor Dell adds its voice to the growing number that expect changing working patterns to remain in place after the coronavirus pandemic is over

The channel is being encouraged by vendors to gear up for the new normal, and there were further indications coming from Dell that the future is going to look different.

The vendor updated the markets with its second-quarter numbers overnight and talked about the spike in demand for consumer notebooks and data protection tools. It also covered the longer term consequences of Covid-19.

Jeff Clarke, vice-chairman and COO at Dell Technologies, shared his thoughts about the changing landscape on an earnings call with analysts, saying he believes the future is going to be different.

“After all of this investment to enable remote everything, we will never go back to the way things were before. At Dell, we expect on an ongoing basis that 60% of our workforce will stay remote or have a hybrid schedule where they work from home mostly and come into the office one or two days a week,” he said.

“We are not alone. Recent data shows that work from home is likely to increase by 20 points across all-size companies across all sectors. I think that is understated. And it will take more technology to ensure productivity and collaboration from anywhere,” he added.

Some vendors have already alerted their partners to the prospects around hybrid working and Dell seems to be doing the same.

“In our 10 years as a connected workplace, we’ve learned that it’s a combination of technology, the right tools for workforce enablement and culture. And we are sharing these best practices with our customers as they embark on this journey – a journey that will be transformational for customers and, as the only player to be able to bring real solutions that connect the edge, core and cloud, will benefit Dell Technologies,” said Clarke.

He said that the pandemic had also underlined the attraction of a hybrid cloud approach for many customers, and those that could offer public, private and edge would be in a strong position.

Revenue for the second quarter was $22.8bn, down 3% year over year. Dell saw both its client services and infrastructure solutions revenues dip by 5% to $11.2bn and $8.2bn respectively. The bright spots was an 8% increase in notebook demand and double-digit order growth for data protection solutions.

The channel’s role in the VMware business also got a nod from Clarke: “Our VMware business segment had another strong quarter, delivering $2.9bn of revenue, up 10%. In addition to the depth and breadth of our portfolio, a big driver of our differentiated performance is our distinctive direct and channel coverage model of the entire IT market”.

Another highlight of the second quarter was the growth in the Dell Finance Services operation, with the vendor’s introduction of a flexible programme in April being adopted by the channel.

Tom Sweet, Dell CFO, said that orders originating from the finance arm were up by 31% to $2.6bn in the second quarter, largely driven by strong VMware and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) performance.

“Earlier this month, we extended the programme through the end of October with payment deferrals until 2021 as we continue to work together with our customers and partners to enable their businesses through these challenging times,” he said.

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