Vienna was the destination for Dell's EMEA Solutions Conference this year, and the city played host to an event very much overshadowed by announcements made just weeks before.
During the opening keynote speeches, references were sparse and only passing to the EMC/VMware deal which of course was not far from the thoughts of every journalist, partner and analyst in attendance.
But with an appearance from the Texan tech tycoon himself, Michael Dell, rhetoric throughout the event was around a bold and ambitious future for the vendor.
Here are CRN's top five takeaways from the event.
1: Dominance in x86 and client
Michael Collins, general manager of EMEA emerging markets, addressed the crowd of over 500 partners yesterday and laid out the company's ambitions to be a leader in the hardware space.
"We genuinely have an ambition to get into a leadership position in both client and x86 [server market]," Collins said.
His comments were echoed by Aongus Hegarty, Dell's EMEA president, who said the vendor is "narrowing the gap" on HP, the current leader of the server market.
Hegarty claimed Dell should catch up to HP's server leadership within the next two years.
2: 2015 has been a ‘challenging' year for the IT channel
Hegarty said that given background tech factors and exchange rates, this year has been a tough year for much of the IT market.
"I think it's been a challenging year on a market level [with] tech and tech spend," he said. "We have been taking significant market share, so we have offset the fact the market hasn't been that strong.
"I think the economic background hasn't been bad. I think the challenge has been more around technology refresh and compares. Some people look at this year compared to last year; PC refresh cycle, Windows 2003 server refresh, the compares there are more challenging. Then when you also take currency from a dollar perspective, in the cost of technology, they are two very specific [factors] to our industry."
But Hegarty was optimistic about market conditions for the coming year. He said with energy costs going down, interest rates staying low and many of Europe's economies picking up, that "business confidence is lifting".
3: The channel must embrace new IT trends
Michael Dell said that for resellers to succeed in today's environment, they need to embrace current developments in the IT industry.
"Having been around this for a long time, the successful channel companies that have evolved into leaders today have been the ones that have understood that the world keeps changing," he said.
"I think of the IT of tomorrow as the areas where partners are going to have to focus their attention on."
The areas that Dell highlighted were hybrid cloud, software-defined datacentre, security, digital transformation, mobility and hyper-converged infrastructure.
"Our industry has always been an innovate or die, change or die business, and we are obviously leaning very heavily into innovation," he added.
4: Dell wants to dominate tomorrow
Dell was also bold about the company's overall ambitions for the future, claiming the EMC deal was driven out of a desire to be a "leader in the IT of tomorrow".
"What is this all about?" he said when referring to the EMC deal. "If you think of the four big pillars of IT today, you have server, storage, virtualisation and PC. Our new company will be an absolute leader in all four of those."
5: SMB is a focus moving forward
Hegarty said that the SMB market has been one that Dell has made a concerted push into in recent months, and this will be a continued focus moving forward.
"It [SMB] has been [a focus], and I would say [there is] an accelerated focus around that," he said.
He also claimed that Dell has added 10,000 partners across western Europe over the last 12 months, and this has been particularly around the SMB space.
"With those 10,000 partners I mentioned, many of them have been acquired and became Dell partners through our distributors," he said. "And that is clearly in the SM and SMB space."
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