Dell Unveils Stack Of SaaS Solutions For SMBs At Salesforce.com Conference

Dell is partnering with Salesforce.com to create a stack of software and services to help small-to-midsize companies develop IT assets that will help their businesses grow without being overwhelmed by IT cost and complexity. Dell presented details of its Dell Cloud Business Applications (DCBA) offering at Dreamforce 2011, the Salesforce user and partner conference going on this week in San Francisco.

August 31, 2011

3 Min Read
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Dell is partnering with Salesforce.com to create a stack of software and services to help small-to-midsize companies develop IT assets that will help their businesses grow without being overwhelmed by IT cost and complexity. Dell presented details of its Dell Cloud Business Applications (DCBA) offering at Dreamforce 2011, the Salesforce user and partner conference going on this week in San Francisco.

"Our focus is to disrupt with simplicity as opposed to trying to make money off of complexity," said Paulette Altmaier, Dell VP of global SMB solutions, at a news conference Tuesday.

The four pillars of the DCBA offering begin with access to leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, beginning with customer relationship management (CRM) software from Salesforce.com, but eventually adding enterprise resource planning (ERP), finance, human resources and other business apps. The second pillar is integration with different SaaS apps, as well as legacy software that a business may already have, using technology from Dell’s acquisition of Boomi in 2010. Third is business analytics capabilities, to enable SMBs to crunch data to inform business decisions. And the fourth pillar is consulting services from Dell and its services partners to support SMB customers.

Enterprise-level integrated business software from vendors such as Oracle and SAP isn’t suitable for SMBs because of cost and scale issues, so they end up looking for best-of-breed solutions, added Steve Felice, president of Dell’s consumer, small and medium-sized business unit. But they have a hard time choosing among multiple software choices, so DCBA advises customers on which options are best for them.

Dell’s integrated CRM solution from Salesforce is priced at $65 a month, while the Dell Boomi integration service starts at $500 a month. Dell support services under the DCBA program start at $5,000. The business analytics offering won’t be available until the first half of 2012, so no pricing information was shared.

The goal of DCBA is to simplify and streamline the development of IT resources for SMBs that usually don’t have the IT staff or knowledge of how to go about the process themselves."SMBs need the same functionality as large enterprises, they just don’t have the staffing," says Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research. "They don’t have time to do integration. It’s not fun connecting all these things together ... so what they’re looking for is something that’s out of the box and turnkey that allows them to go out and take the solution and turn it on."

Wang says that some SMBs are still running "pre-Y2K" IT systems that are close to breaking, and that "they are looking for cloud as the upgrade strategy."

Also on hand at the news conference was Paul Leary, president of Blackbird Vineyards, a Napa Valley winery north of San Francisco that is using SaaS applications and trying to implement business analytics capabilities to study customer and other business data. Leary started Blackbird in 2006 after leaving another winery that was still running DOS-based applications.

While another employee can manage hardware and networking issues, Leary also wears the "Salesforce administrator" hat at his 30-person business. He says he wants to use business analytics to develop new programs his competitors lack, such as a "thank you" program in which notes would be sent to high-value, repeat-purchase customers to maintain their loyalty.

"It’s as simple as creating a report that gets pushed out on a daily basis to a [Blackbird employee] that says, 'Here’s a new client who spent $25,000. Where did they come from? What are we doing to thank them?'" he said.

On Monday, Dell announced it would offer its first public and hybrid cloud service to enterprise customers based on VMware’s vCloud Datacenter Services, which VMware unveiled at its VMworld 2011 conference in Las Vegas. At the San Francisco event, Dell’s Felice said Dell’s strategy would be to nurture SMBs with DCBA while hoping, as they grow, to eventually migrate them to its version of vCloud.

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