Michael Dell, founder and chief executive officer of Dell Inc. made a surprise visit to Nigeria last week in a historic visit, in fulfillment of a promise made by Michael in September 2010 when Computer Warehouse Group visited the Dell Executive Briefing Center (EBC) in Texas with some customers from Nigeria, including Ecobank International.
The appointment of Nigerian, Nnamdi Orakwue as Executive Director, Strategy and Operations by Dell may have in no small measure contributed to actualizing the trip.
To the teeming Dell community in Nigeria, there can be no stronger demonstration of commitment to the market than the fulfillment of this promise, especially as this is perhaps only the second visit by such caliber of Founder/ CEO of a global ICT Firm.
Coming nine years after the visit in 2003 by Mr. Narayana Murthy, Founder and former CEO of Infosys Technologies, one could argue that it is well overdue.
Not so the staff that welcomed Michael at the local Dell office at Mulliner Towers, Ikoyi, nor the selected Partners who were invited for a closed door meeting, including Austin Okere, Founder and CEO of the Computer Warehouse Group, the largest Systems Integration company in West Africa, Mr. Andy Nwani, Founder and CEO ofDataflex, Mr. GbolahanOlayomi, CEO of Equipment Hall and Mr. EmekaMaduibuike, Managing Director of Systemtech Group.
After a welcome address by Mr. ChuksUlu-Udensi, Country Manager, West Africa, Michael gave an insightful presentation about the current strategic focus of Dell, and the acquisitions that have been made to support the strategy, including acquisitions such as Equalogic, Compellent, Wyse and Perot Systems, which are the technology platforms upon which Dell intends to launch into the Enterprise and Cloud spaces.
Mr. Austin Okere explained that CWG has taken advantage of the opportunities of these platforms to provide virtualization solutions to major customers in Finance and Oil & Gas sectors such as First Bank of Nigeria, UBA, TotalElf, and Ecobank International for their global operations coving Accra, Lagos London, Paris, Lome and over 30 other countries. As a result of which CWG is now considered one of the most dominant players in the space.
A major plank of the Dell Partners’ strategy has been the 'Try & Buy'concept which has worked very well. Dell intends to reciprocate the commitment of the partner community by shouldering some of the burden of the Proof of Concepts though direct input or discount structure to maximize the reach and impact.
Other initiatives considered include a local Dell Lab to showcase her range of solutions in a 'touch and feel' manner to offer customers the opportunity of experiencing the solutions in a live environment, the provision of Engineer certification facilities in-Country so that partners do not have to incur huge travel expenses and visa inconveniences to go overseas for certification, while at the same time giving more partner engineers the opportunity of the required skills acquisition.
The setting up a credible service center to give the customers assurances of after sales support, the consideration of an industry standard Data Center in Nigeria for co-location, and also to push Dell’s cloud offering.
In giving his vote of thanks, Mr. Stewart Van Graan, GM Dell Southern, Central and East Africa, expressed the hope that this visit will mark the beginning of the recognition of Nigeria as a focal point for Dell’s initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa, and attract other global IT companies to tap the full potential that the country offers.