This section intends to provide a deeper understanding of how the company interacts with its environment. It's important to know what the company does and how it does it. 

Products & Suppliers:

[Good suppliers' relationship]

In case you didn's read the first section, Datalink does NOT produce any equipments, instead it continually evaluates and tests new and emerging technologies  from leading manufacturers to ensure that its solutions incorporate state-of-the-art technologies.

The company reports a deep understanding in all main technologies (hardware and software) developed by the industry leaders and a particular expertise in UNIX, Microsoft Windows, Linux and Solaris systems.

This expertise enabled the company apreferred status among many OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) suppliers that allows it to participate in their product development, evaluation and marketing programs.

The company also reported in its last fillings to have a disperse network of suppliers, thus not relying in any in particular.

Some Suppliers include: EMC Corporation, Akorri, Inc., Hitachi Data Systems Corporation, Sepaton Inc., NetApp Inc., Vmware, Inc., Oracle Systems, Dell Inc., Quantum Corporation, Cisco Systems, Spectra Logic Corporation, Brocade Communications System, Inc., Symantec Corporation, F5 Networks, Inc., Riverbed Technology, Inc.



[Increasingly disperse customer base]

Datalink's customers are mainly USA mid and large-sized data-intensive companies in a wide range of industries as its experience enables it to understand and provide solutions specific to the client's business and needs.

The company's projects range from professional evaluations and specialized design services to complex implementations of virtual data centers. It also provides hardware and software whenever necessary to allow one of its designs or to increase the capacity of existing infrastructure. 

The company stated in its 2011 annual report that in 2009, 2010 and 2011 no customer accounted for 10% of total revenue and that the largest 5 customers accounted for 17%, 12% and 11% of total revenue, respectively.


Sales & Marketing:

[Active strategy earns more customers and more money]

DTLK markets and sells its products and services primarily through a direct sales force in which each customer is assigned to a manager and an associated account. In addition to its headquarters in Minneapolis the company has 29 field sales offices.

Also, DTLK engages in a variety of marketing activities to attract new business and maintain customer loyalty. Regularly it performs demand generation campaigns, gain exposure through online and print trade publications, seminars, and use the social channels to share information on topics such as data centers, virtual private cloud computing, storage, data protection, disaster recovery and business continuity trends and best practices.

This active strategy of sales and marketing is earning the company more clientes every year. Also, it looks like companies are more willing to spend more money in data center efficiency as Datalink reports more customers contrating more than $1 million services. 



[Fragmented competition especially from OEM resellers]

Competition is fragmented and consists of small and large companies that are essentially resellers of the leading manufacturers DTLK represents or competitors such as IBM and HP. It also competes with some of the producers when they sell directly to the end customer.

They believe that the main distinguishing factor in this market is the general business model in which they are focused on making data centers more efficient, manageable and in accordance with customer needs. Another important factor is the total cost, expertise, quality of support services and relationships both with clients and with the producers.



[Growing business organically and through acquisitions]

The company has a growing strategy that is based in acquisitions, and the industry itself is growing very fast so it needs to keep up the pace in hiring more engineers and account managers in order to keep service quality. Notice that the structure of the company is based on high fixed costs since it is based on the service of highly qualified professionals.