Dell expands cloud solutions to cover SMBs with Salesforce

Dell keeps rolling out cloud computing solution announcements. This time, Dell is going after the small business sector with some help from Salesforce.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Yesterday, Dell introduced its first public cloud-based data storage offering with Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions in partnership with VMware.

Today, Dell is teaming up with Salesforce on a Software-as-a-Service platform targeted towards small and medium-sized businesses.

During a roundtable discussion at Dreamforce 2011 in San Francisco on Tuesday morning, Steve Felice, president of Dell's consumer, small and medium business sector, said that cloud computing is enabling many businesses that stayed local to go global and scale easier in order to compete with larger companies.

However, Felice acknowledged that there are at least three common barriers for SMBs: integration, analytics, and expertise.

Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, a firm that focuses on disruptive and emerging technologies, added that SMBs are looking for out-of-the-box, turn-key solutions to get enabled quickly. The problem is, Wang noted, is that many SMBs are still working on pre-Y2K software and don't want to throw out what they have.

Thus, Dell touts that its new Cloud Business Applications address these problems with the following features:

  • Integration with Existing Software: Thanks to Dell's purchase of Boomi, customers can opt to integrate cloud applications with their existing on-premise or cloud software for an easier transition to the cloud without sacrificing previous software investments and disrupting existing business processes.
  • Real-time Business Visibility and Analytics: Dell's software includes a single sign-on point with business-grade security. Users will also have one widget that leads into a unified, cross-application dashboard that enables IT managers and C-level executives to get a real-time look at how the company is performing and growing.
  • Comprehensive Services: Dell will help customers design, develop and deploy the cloud applications that work best for their business. Implementation packages are available in Basic, Professional and Premier Editions to address needs from businesses ranging from 100 to 5,000 employees.

Dell is also integrating Salesforce.com's CRM (customer relationship management) system and connecting the Salesforce Sales Cloud to a variety of applications including Microsoft Dynamics and Intuit QuickBooks. Dell reps were quick to point out that this does not mean that Dell is opening an app marketplace, but rather the company will be selecting specific apps that will be relevant to customers. Dell will also be hosting the analytics services itself, but might choose to host other applications with other partners down the line.

The integrated CRM solution with Boomi and turn-key services are available starting today in the United States, and analytics are expected to be rolled out during the first half of 2012. Pricing for salesforce.com and Dell Boomi integration bundled together starts at $565 per month. Dell implementation services packages start at $5,000.

Dell promises to continually roll out new cloud computing features and solutions by the quarter as the Round Rock, Texas-based corporation has invested $1 billion in a cloud solutions build-out for the rest of the year.


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