With a 16 year history in Sri Lanka, Dell has now decided to establish a liaison office in the country while continuing to work through their long-established partners in order to capitalise on the potential for growth in the country.
Along with this decision comes the strategic partnership they have now entered with Samson IT, a member of the DSI Group, in order to sell their consumer product line to the rural areas, a segment in which they hope to drive growth in the near future.
“We are celebrating a milestone in our operations here in Sri Lanka by having our second tier partner kick off through Samson IT. With this kind of operation we hope to see our consumer market grow and that’s one area where we expect to double our revenues,” said the Country Manager for Sri Lanka, Shermal Jayatilaka. “DSI has a shop in every nook and corner in Sri Lanka, so we want to leverage on that and drive our growth in those areas.”
During their long history in Sri Lanka, Dell has chosen to work through strategic Tier One partners as they classify it such as Softlogic, Abans and PC House. Their new Tier Two partnership will enable Samson IT to work as Dell’s aggregator, allowing them to sell to their consumer product line specifically to rural areas, not main cities like Galle and Kandy which have already been covered.
“Essentially, we are very serious about this market, we have been here for 16 years which shows our commitment, we are now taking the next step and we are here for the long haul. We are investing heavily in manpower, today we have many partners who are supporting this business for us and the numbers are going to grow,” stated the General Manager of the South Asian Developing Markets Group, Ali Jaleel.
“This is just Dell directly and we are working with partners who are going out and selling our products. If you look at the ecosystem in the country, we already have 200 to 300 people associated with us in one form or the other. Hopefully as more focus enters and as the business grows, there will be more opportunities locally as well for job creation, investment and so on and so we are very positive and optimistic about growth here.”
Dell generally chooses to establish liaison offices in countries where they feel that business is going to grow, where they will have a substantial market share and where the brand has the potential to be in a market leadership position.
The decision to set up a representative office in Sri Lanka, one which involved a lot of groundwork and investment, was made because Dell understands that Sri Lanka is at a point where that if they do not enter the market now, they may lose out on a strategic advantage that is currently available.
Their team based at the liaison office will ensure that customers will have direct access to Dell and will manage some of the relationships directly. The office will also ensure that their global products become available in Sri Lanka as well and are already looking at introducing new products into the market in the near future.
Already a very-well known brand in Sri Lanka, Dell has mainly chosen to operate in the enterprise market but has just started their consumer business which in turn has enabled them to reach a leadership position.
In the enterprise market, Dell essentially handles businesses and organisations, catering to the telecommunication industry, educational institutes manufacturing, etc. Through the consumer market on the other hand, which they commenced over a year ago, is when they sell directly to consumers.
“We are trailing behind HP and Asus, we are number three right now, but we have just started the consumer business and this is where we are expecting a lot of growth and focus. In the enterprise space, we are pretty much neck-to-neck with HP in areas in which we compete with them. They have certain product lines in which we don’t compete which is in the very high end but on storage, servers, desktop, notebooks it seems to be that we are a close second,” affirmed Jaleel.
In terms of growth, Jaleel explained that a direct comparison to their competitors here would be impossible as they have not had a direct presence until now. He did confirm that there would definitely be growth from now and added that Dell has enjoyed exponential growth in the country since 1994. However, Jaleel did reveal that according to the IDC research report issued last year, Dell has had approximately 20% growth overall.
Along with their widespread presence globally, Jaleel added that he currently manages around 19 countries in the region which include Bangladesh, Pakistan, now Sri Lanka and in the near future, Nepal which according to him is another country that is coming up.
In terms of the work that the liaison office will undertake Sri Lanka, they hope to work with organisations on various solutions ranging from education to virtualisation solutions, backing these up with their streamlined products made for specific purposes while continuing to focus on their organic business growth. Dell also plays a consulting role with governments and other non-government IT entities in other countries and looks forward to establishing similar relationships in Sri Lanka.