It’s Official – Dell is Going Private… Now what?

If you haven’t heard by now, it’s official.  Yesterday, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) reached an agreement to sell itself into private ownership in a $24.4 billion leveraged buyout, the largest since the current recession began in 2007.  The transaction will be led by capital and equity contributions from company founder and current Chairman and CEO Michael Dell along with a $2 billion loan from Microsoft, investment from private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, debt financing by various financial giants, and cash on hand.  Shareholders will be offered a share price of $13.65, which was 25% higher than Dell’s stock price last month, but now that the announcement has been made that premium has shrunk to just under 2% of the current trading price.

How did Dell get here?

PC's Limited keyboard signed by Michael Dell

I guess Michael Dell was a better PC manufacturer than grammarian…

Michael Dell first founded “PC’s Limited” in his University of Texas at Austin dorm room in 1984.  It grew quickly and grossed $73 million in its first full year of operation, earning Dell the honor of being the youngest ever CEO of a Fortune 500 company.  The company continued to grow and Dell began to offer online ordering of its PCs in 1996.  At the same time, Dell’s notoriety as Consumer Reports’ most reliable PC helped it become the world’s largest PC manufacturer by 1999.

Attempting to expand into the growing consumer electronics market, Dell started producing devices such as MP3 players and TVs in 2002.  Unfortunately, it had difficulty keeping up with its competition without a retail storefront where consumers could test drive the products.  Despite never gaining traction with retail electronics, Dell remained the world’s top PC manufacturer from 2003 to 2006, but has failed to innovate or to remain competitive and as a result has been steadily losing market share ever since.

Now what?

So what’s next for Dell?  Egon Durban, Managing Partner at Silver Lake, said “[they're] looking forward to partnering with [Michael Dell and accelerating] the company’s transformation strategy to become an integrated and diversified global IT solutions provider.”  That sounds a lot to me like their goal is to build a global consulting organization like HP, IBM, or Accenture, but I’m sure Durban gave a purposefully encouraging yet nebulous answer.  Let’s take a look at some of Dell’s recent acquisitions to see if we can draw some hints about their potential plans:

  • ACS (2006) – Applications management and deployment.  At the time of purchase, it was said that Dell hoped to leverage ACS to help its clients deploy Windows Vista.
  • Silverback (2007) – Produces software that monitors and manages “thousands of Windows PCs and servers.”  Sensing a theme here?
  • EqualLogic (2008) – Large player in the Storage Area Networking (SAN) space.  Combined with virtualization software like VMWare, SANs and robust data center networking are the three primary building blocks for today’s cloud architectures.
  • Sonicwall (2012) – While I can’t consider them a serious competitor to Cisco or Juniper, SonicWall boasted a fairly extensive portfolio of network security and threat management appliances before its acquisition.
  • Wyse (2012) – The global leader in thin client technology.  With more and more of a company’s IT “horsepower” being consolidated into the Data Center, thin clients and virtual desktops will only become more popular.

Sure, some of the earlier acquisitions were PC-based, but if you look at the full list of Dell’s acquisitions most of the recent purchases are somehow related to the Data Center, and what happens in the Data Center?  Virtualization, cloud computing, and all the other amazing things that are really contrary to Dell’s legacy of selling low-cost, high-volume desktops. I think Christopher Mims saw the writing on the wall:

A privately held Dell, shielded from the pressure to post continual growth on a quarterly basis, could refocus itself on thin clients and cloud computing, which could set itself up for a breathtaking turnaround.

Dell has all the technology components they need to become a major player in the data center / virtualization / cloud space, but in order to do so they’d very nearly have to turn their backs on twenty years of desktop PC business and start focusing on development of best-in-class data center solutions to go head-to-head against incumbent giants such as HP, IBM, Cisco, NetApp, and EMC.  If anyone can do that for Dell, it would certainly have to be Michael Dell.

What do you think?  Can Dell can get his company a solid foothold in the Data Center and cloud space?  Let us know in the comments.

 

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Move over, Hubspot – Adobe Marketing Cloud is here!

Last week Adobe released Marketing Cloud, an all-in-one digital media campaign management and analysis tool that claims to include “everything digital marketers need to get ahead.”  While looking over the website I couldn’t help but think that it sounded eerily like Hubspot, which also integrates social media, paid search, SEO, performance tracking, and of course killer analytics and insights all in one powerful yet easy to use dashboard.

We haven’t requested a demo of Marketing Cloud just yet but if it’s anywhere near as good as its advertising campaign (a video from which we’ve included below), Hubspot is in trouble!  If you’d like to see a comparison of the two products let us know in the comments.

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Denton Business Solutions Achieves Small Business Specialization From Cisco Systems

Cisco Select Certified Partner Logo(Cincinnati, Ohio) – August 7th, 2012 – Denton Business Solutions announced today it has achieved the Small Business Specialization from Cisco.  The Small Business Specialization recognizes Cisco resale channel partners that focus on meeting the technology and services needs of small businesses.

”Since achieving the Cisco Select Partner Certification earlier this year, we have been looking for ways to deepen our relationship with Cisco and to offer even more powerful solutions to our clients, and the Cisco Small Business Specialization does exactly that,” says Phil Denton, President of Denton Business Solutions. “By completing the requirements of the Small Business Specialization, we’ll be able to offer our clients more powerful solutions that can really take their businesses to the next level in terms of customer responsiveness, employee productivity, and increased market share.”

 “The Cisco Small Business Specialization was created in response to customer demand for channel partners capable of designing and implementing Cisco solutions purpose-built for the small business,” said Andrew Sage, vice president of Worldwide Small Business Sales, Cisco. “With the Small Business Specialization, Denton Business Solutions has made an investment in obtaining the training, skills and knowledge necessary to play a pivotal role in meeting this growing demand.”

To earn the Small Business Specialization, Denton Business Solutions fulfilled Cisco training and exam requirements. Denton Business Solutions also met the personnel, training, and postsales support requirements set forth by Cisco.

The Cisco Resale Channel Program provides a framework for channel partners to build the sales, technical and Cisco Lifecycle Services skills required to deliver Cisco solutions to end customers. Through the program’s specializations and certifications, Cisco recognizes a channel partner’s expertise in deploying solutions based on Cisco advanced technologies and services. Using a third-party audit process, the program validates channel partner qualifications such as technology skills, business best practices, customer satisfaction, and presales and postsales support capabilities — critical factors for customers choosing a trusted channel partner.

 

About Denton Business Solutions, LLC

Founded in 2009, Denton Business Solutions, LLC is a technology consulting firm specialized in addressing the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.  Denton Business Solutions provides a diverse range of services to its clients, from Web Optimization offerings such as Search Engine Optimization, Conversion Optimization, and Online Advertising to more traditional technology solutions such as design and deployment of network and telephony infrastructures.

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Cisco, Cisco Systems and the Cisco logo are registered trademarks of Cisco Systems Inc. in the United States and certain other countries.

 

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Facebook posts loss in first quarterly earnings report, stock tanks

Facebook stock drops over 20% overnightFacebook (NASDAQ:FB), which just went public this past May, released its first quarterly earnings statement after trading closed yesterday.  Despite almost exactly achieving its Earnings Per Share prediction, the stock still dropped 8.50% during trading Thursday in anticipation of the report, and continued to fall an additional 12% in post- and pre-market trading.  At the time of this writing, Facebook’s stock price had settled at a new all-time low of $23.68.

Since Facebook made history on May 18th of this year as the largest tech IPO ever, the social giant’s stock price has managed to fall a staggering 38% and while Facebook did meet analysts’ estimates for second quarter EPS, the reported 32% quarterly revenue increase to $1.18 billion was not enough to ease investors’ concerns over the company’s growing spending, as company expenses have swelled 295% to $1.93 billion since this time last year.

While Facebook does continue to grow its revenue, it is struggling to bring large advertisers to its platform and has stated that it will retarget its ad offerings to small and medium businesses instead.  Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Inc founder and CEO, attributes lagging advertisement revenue to increase used of Facebook on mobile devices, as the mobile Facebook application does not currently incorporate a revenue-generating component as its browser-based sibling does.

Adding insult to injury, social gaming goliath Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA), which accounts for 12% of Facebook’s revenue, slashed its 2012 earnings outlook earlier this week from 23 to 29 cents share down to 4 to 9 cents a share.  The creator of popular Facebook games such as “Cityville” and “Farmville” has seen increased competition in the marketplace but is most likely also feeling the sting of users abandoning Facebook’s web-based games in favor of mobile gaming on their smartphones.

Facebook and Zynga stocks both plummet

Facebook and Zynga’s stock performances seem to have been intertwined since the Facebook IPO in May.

Zuckerberg said in the earnings release via the Wall Street Journal,  “Our goal is to help every person stay connected and every product they use be a great social experience. That’s why we’re so focused on investing in our priorities of mobile, platform and social ads to help people have these experiences with their friends.”  Only time will tell if investors will continue to buy into Zuckerberg’s vision.

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Cincinnati State offers Federally-funded Health Information Technology Training

As part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act passed in 2009, physicians can receive up to $44,000 in tax incentives for implementing Electronic Medical Records (EMR) by the year 2015.  If a physician’s practice hasn’t implemented EMR by 2015 they will begin to incur tax penalties until they comply with the HITECH Act and complete EMR implementation.

Needless to say, with the amount of incentives driving EMR adoption, the demand for Healthcare IT (HIT) professionals is rapidly increasing.  In fact, some estimate the implementation of EMR nation-wide will require up to 55,000 additional trained Healthcare IT professionals.  Better yet, SimplyHired.com reports the average salary of a Health IT professional to be $61,000/yr.  While earnings potential will vary based on location, individual experience, training, and background it’s still a very encouraging figure.

The only problem is EMR implementation and Healthcare IT require a very specialized skillset.  Luckily, Cincinnati’s very own Cincinnati State Technical and Community College has access to a federal grant program that subsidizes most of the training costs for certification in Healthcare IT.  Over the course of six months, program participants will complete online coursework that will prepare them to take on one of the six specialized roles in the EMR implementation process.  The course is facilitator-guided and 100% online, requiring no classroom attendance.  Upon course completion participants will receive 15 credit hours as well as a certificate of completion.

Applicants to the program should already have experience in either the IT or healthcare fields when applying.  The program has a cost of $1500 but the federal government has subsidized $1250 of that cost, making the program cost only $250 for each participant, plus a $60 fee for the required background check.

The program closes at the end of the month so don’t delay in applying.  I spoke to Delrae McNeill, the program manager, yesterday and there were still seats available.  For more information or to begin the application process please visit the Cincinnati State Healthcare Information Technology Training page.  If you have questions that are not answered on the previous page please feel free to contact Delrae directly:

Delrae McNeill
Program Manager – HIT
delrae.mcneill@cincinnatistate.edu
513-569-5731 Ph.
513-569-1801 Fax
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Denton Business Solutions Achieves Select Certification from Cisco

Cisco Select Certified Partner Logo(Cincinnati, Ohio) – March 19th, 2012 – Denton Business Solutions, LLC announced today it has achieved Select Certification from Cisco. The Select Certification recognizes Cisco® resale channel partners that focus on meeting the technology and services needs of small businesses.

 

Since founding Denton Business Solutions, I have been constantly seeking to form partnerships with companies like Cisco who truly understand the needs of small businesses,” says Phil Denton, President of Denton Business Solutions. “Adding Cisco’s small business products, services, and financing to our portfolio will really allow our company to bring some game-changing solutions to our clients.”

 

“The Cisco Select Certification was created in response to customer demand for channel partners capable of designing and implementing Cisco solutions purpose-built for small businesses,” said Andrew Sage, vice president of Worldwide Small Business Sales at Cisco. With the Select Certification, Denton Business Solutions has made an investment in obtaining the training, skills and knowledge necessary to play a pivotal role in meeting this growing demand.”

 

To earn Select Certification, Denton Business Solutions fulfilled the training and exam requirements for the Cisco Small Business Specialization. Denton Business Solutions also met the personnel, training and postsales support requirements set forth by Cisco.

 

The Cisco Resale Channel Program provides a framework for channel partners to build the sales, technical and Cisco Lifecycle Services skills required to deliver Cisco solutions to end customers. Through the program’s specializations and certifications, Cisco recognizes a channel partner’s expertise in deploying solutions based on Cisco advanced technologies and services. Using a third-party audit process, the program validates channel partner qualifications such as technology skills, business best practices, customer satisfaction, and presales and postsales support capabilities — critical factors for customers choosing a trusted channel partner.

 

About Denton Business Solutions, LLC

Founded in 2009, Denton Business Solutions, LLC is a technology consulting firm specialized in addressing the needs of small businesses. Denton Business Solutions provides a diverse range of services to its clients, including Web Optimization, Productivity Enhancement, Social Media Marketing, Disaster Recovery, and IT Strategy. DBS is focused on delivering solutions that have a direct positive impact to each of its clients’ bottom lines.

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Cisco, Cisco Systems and the Cisco logo are registered trademarks of Cisco Systems Inc. in the United States and certain other countries.

 

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