While Dell (News - Alert) is a household name when it comes to hardware—I'm actually on a Dell myself right now—Dell as a software source is still something of an up-and-comer in the field. But Dell has been actively working on building its roster in software, and its most recent move has shown that there's quite a bit of room in this field for Dell to compete.
Dell recently acquired StatSoft, a company that focuses on predictive analytics, in a deal whose value and accompanying terms were not immediately disclosed. StatSoft's predictive analytics product line focuses on several key points within the sector, including database management, integration software, and the increasingly popular tool known as data mining capability, which allows users to spot trends in places where there are large amounts of data overall, like social networks. StatSoft's flagship product, at last report, was Statistica, a software product that offers data analysis and predictive capabilities via a set of algorithms and other statistic manipulation capabilities.
As for Dell's plans for StatSoft, that was made quite available: Dell, in a recent announcement, noted that the company would be offering StatSoft software as part of a package with Dell x86 servers, meaning that users would be able to get in on a complete data mining solution right from purchase. StatSoft is just the latest in a series of acquisitions for Dell, all with a particular focus on software. Dell has previously been seen purchasing companies like AppAssure, Boomi, Quest Software (News - Alert), and Wyse, with varying degrees of success seen in terms of getting the companies' offerings integrated into Dell's overall operations. Reports note that Wyse, for example, is continuing to sell cloud software, and even cloud hardware, while still mostly on its own from other units in Dell.
However, StatSoft makes particular sense for Dell given that Dell already offers Kitenga analytics software, part of the Quest Software lineup. Since Kitenga and StatSoft already work together—and well by most reports—this pairing offers particular benefit for users. Specifically, the addition of Kitenga systems can give StatSoft operations the improvement of natural language processing capability, always useful when going into an environment like social media where there's natural language going on like no tomorrow. Plus, StatSoft will work with a variety of other tools including both Oracle and Microsoft (News - Alert) databases, as well as SAP Hana. StatSoft has already been seen working with some pretty major brands, including Lenovo and Pepsi.
When all these factors are taken together, the motive behind the StatSoft acquisition—or at least one possible motive—becomes clear. With StatSoft, Dell has a hub for several other software offerings, and the potential to put many of these on Dell hardware, giving not only a reason to pick up Dell software, but also potentially to put said software on Dell hardware, putting a little extra left into the Dell server line. Reports suggest that, over the last three years, the margins for both the x86 server line and the PC line have been on the decline, so having a way to drive some value to these sectors would likely prove useful in the long term.
Only time will tell just how Dell puts StatSoft to work, but there are some clear possibilities afoot here. Sufficient possibilities, in fact, to suggest that Dell has made a terrific move overall with this development, and may just have what's needed to really make a name for itself in software, as much as it has already in hardware.