CSPs, Enterprise, Mergers and Acquisitions, MSP

Enterprise IT Services: Why Dell, HP Enterprise Pursued Exits

Within two months of each other, both Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell have made major moves away from the enterprise IT services market. Here's why.

While the overall IT outsourcing market remains strong — thanks to managed and cloud services — the typical enterprise IT outsourcing deal size is shrinking. Very quickly. A case in point: BAE Systems recently outsourced IT operations to CSC for $600 million — less than one-third the size of a similar deal the duo struck in 2005, The Wall Street Journal notes. Moreover, the average size of the top 100 outsourcing deals for 2015 was $392 million — down from $680 million in 2005, according to IDC, the Journal adds.

Dell, HP Enterprise Rethink IT Outsourcing Strategies

Amid those market realities, Dell is selling its enterprise IT services business (the former Perot Systems) to NTT Data for $3.055 billion. Cash from that deal will help to balance Dell's balance sheet as the company seeks to finalize is $67 billion EMC buyout. HP Enterprise shocked the industry with its own deal today, announcing plans to spin off and merge its enterprise IT services business with CSC.

That's quite an about face for both Dell and HP Enterprise.

At the time, both companies were chasing IBM Global Services. But a painful reality gradually emerged: Both deals arrived just as the IT spending pendulum was starting to swing away from long-term ERP and CRM deployments, and toward cloud services.

The HP-EDS and Dell-Perot business combinations never quite lived up to their hype, and even IBM's services business -- its crown jewel in the 1990s and early 2000s -- has lost its luster.

Meanwhile, big IT consulting firms and global systems integrators have been responding aggressively to the cloud services wave. Accenture, for instance, is actually coming down market -- introducing SMB cloud services. And CSC has a large portfolio of managed, cloud and infrastructure services.

Small MSPs Grow Up

Meanwhile, IT automation tools have allowed small MSPs (managed services providers) to push hard into some midmarket and enterprise accounts.

At SolarWinds N-able, for instance, many MSP partners now resemble midmarket businesses, and there's a chance 20 percent of MSPs could ultimately dominate 80 percent of the SMB managed services market, according to Senior VP Mike Cullen.

Nobody is suggesting that small MSPs will ever fully compete head-on against CSC, NTT Data and other global IT outsourcing firms. But dozens of MSPs, riding public clouds like Amazon Web Services, are moving up-market toward mission-critical applications...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.