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Dell Canada makes major changes to its PartnerDirect program

PartnerDirect 2.0 launches today with two new tiers groups and certifications

Dell Canada (Nasdaq: DELL)introduced a new channel partner lead for the country in David Miketinac, a 16-year veteran of the company. Miketinac’s first order of business was to announce new changes to the PartnerDirect channel program.

Called PartnerDirect 2.0 the program will feature a new structure intended to expand the subsidiary’s channel base, while offering more rewards. Miketinac told CDN this morning that he hopes the new structure will help drive more Dell solutions and certifications not just in Canada, but globally as well.

Also part of the plan will be new training, rebates and deal registration offerings. Miketinac was unable to provide CDN with specific rebate figures at this time, but he did say deal registration will be increased to 180 days. Another important aspect of the new program will be two new levels: Premier Partner and Dell Preferred Partner. Dell Preferred Partner replaces the old Certification Partner tier, Miketinac said.

The Premier Partner tier has been redesigned as Dell’s highest level and for channel partners who are really committed to the vendor. In this tier a partner would need at least two Dell certifications and a revenue threshold of $500,000. In the U.S., the revenue threshold is $750,000. With that the partner will be getting new benefits on rebates for products, access to the product incentive program, which would add more margins on deals, the 180 day deal registration opportunity and access to a technical resource desk and lead generation programs.

In the Dell Preferred tier, Miketinac said the company would look for experts in the solution provider space. These partners would only need one certification and meet a minimum threshold. The deal registration period here is for only 120 days.

There is also a third tier in PartnerDirect 2.0 called Dell Registered Partners and that tier remains unchanged from the previous program.

“The first reason we made these changes is we want to give partners choice and we found out from our partner discussions that the new program has to scale. From what we were offering we needed to ensure that the brand certifications are effective so they can market themselves more affectively,” Miketinac said.

He added that the new structure is intended to be more competitive in the industry. “The new structure helps us get more partners and partner’s more margins in the enterprise space. It’s designed with multiple angles for them to go to market and allows them to make more money,” he said.

For example, the longer deal registration process gives a partner advantageous pricing and what Miketinac called a “margin halo” especially for EqualLogic and Compellent Technologies products over laptops. Two aspects of the deal registration program of note are: Opportunities must pass through the Dell field direct process first and the company’s direct sales team will be compensated equally if the opportunity goes through the channel.

Dell has recognized that EqualLogic and Compellent product deals take longer to close and therefore the partners need a longer run way.

There will also be new finance options in the PartnerDirect 2.0 program. Off the top partners will get 60 days terms rather than 30 days and Miketinac said that Dell wants to be flexible for partners on finances because its still difficult to get these dollars even as the economy rebounds.

Certifications were also tweaked in PartnerDirect 2.0. Enterprise, managed services, networking and security and network management will still be there, but Dell is adding to its enterprise architecture certification two modifications for storage and servers.

Long time Dell channel partner Stuart Crawford of Ulistic Inc. believes the deal registration portion will enable solution providers to remain competitive in the marketplace. He added that attaining one more certification is well within the reach of many small managed services provdiers (MSPs) and VARs.

“Dell has become the leader amongst smaller MSPs and VARs who are looking for a turnkey solution and the margins on Dell are still good,” Crawford said.

Crawford has been following Dell’s transition in the channel since the beginning in 2007 when he was a managing partner at IT Matters of Calgary and said that the three tiers is something channel partners will like. He added that most of the Canadian channel will fall into the Preferred or Registered tier.