I recently had the chance to spend some quality time with Dell in Singapore at their event for Forrester analysts in the Asia Pacific region. As Dell is a company traditionally known for its hardware products, I had low expectations – to date, few of my CIO clients would consider Dell a “strategic” supplier.

However, I was pleasantly surprised – Dell is reinventing itself from a PC and server supplier into an IT solutions provider. The benefits of the acquisition of Perot Systems and various software assets in North America and around the globe are starting to pay dividends in Asia Pacific.

As a late entrant into many of the newer markets they play in, they have the rare advantage of being able to do things differently – both from a solution and a pricing standpoint. From data centre transformation through legacy migration and application modernisation, to networking solutions, Dell is attempting to be disruptive player in the market – simplifying processes that were typically human-centric, and automating capabilities to reduce the overall burden of owning and running infrastructure.

Their strategy is to stay close to what they know – much of their capability is linked directly to infrastructure – but their open, modular, and somewhat vendor agnostic approach is in direct opposition to the “vendor lock-in” solutions that many of the other major vendors push.

A key strength for Dell’s solutions business (outside of hardware) in Asia Pacific is, and will continue to be, their focus on companies below the Fortune 500– and in Japan they are starting to steal big accounts from the traditional IT services providers. Many vendors are focused on the top end of town – and spend much of their sales energies winning these clients, and their support energies keeping them happy. Dell is good at winning and supporting solutions engagements the next tier down – which represents many companies in Asia Pacific.

So, can Dell be one of your strategic vendors in Asia Pacific? If you are a company that is not in the Fortune 500 that is heavily wedded to hardware, and hence want to drive efficiencies in your data centre and associated applications, then it might be worth taking that call from the Dell account manager (whose emails you may have previously been ignoring…).