Dell moves channel partners towards healthcare

Toronto – Those 700 or so Dell Canada

(Nasdaq: DELL) channel partners that the former direct only vendor has signed up to its PartnerDirect program are being pointed towards the healthcare vertical by the Canadian subsidiary.

August Calhoun, Dell Canada’s vice president of Life Sciences, said the move towards personalized healthcare and the advent of electronic health records for automotive processing and analyzing will create an increase in demand for new technology solutions in Canadian hospitals and clinics.

“Customers want to go to personalized healthcare, but 70 per cent of the business (current allocated IT budgets) is for keeping the lights on and not a lot is being spent on the innovative projects for personalized healthcare,” Calhoun said.

Dell Canada has developed a healthcare strategy that provides access to information for channel partners along with new infrastructure products for on-the-field care and in hospital rooms. Some of the key channel opportunities are in providing security and data integrity solutions for the personal healthcare trend such as secure mobile platforms for access to data.

“This is not a U.S. problem, but a Canadian one because someone is paying and we need to figure out how to deliver high quality healthcare,” Calhoun said.

Paul Cooper, Dell Canada general manager, said that he is trying to align more of the subsidiary’s channel partners with the company’s healthcare strategy to try to deliver incremental value to the healthcare vertical.

“We have worked with partners to bring that value and one area that needs help is healthcare. It is incumbent upon us to stitch together for our customers the right solution. We need to get knowledge from these people and reach out to them in advance of clients to form partnerships that can build robust delivering of healthcare technology,” he said.

Dell Canada is still in partner recruitment mode for its overall business. The object of the recruitment is for Dell Canada to push the majority of its business through partners, healthcare is just one aspect of that.

However, Dell is still facing trust issues in the Canadian market place from its long history of direct only sales. Cooper said that trust is still his biggest challenge even though the subsidiary is coming up on its one-year anniversary of when it officially entered the channel.

“We formulated a business model that was direct and we still believe it is intrinsic to our success. We worked cross purpose with resellers in the market place and was the black sheep. Now we have realized the value that partners can bring to the market. We delivered a program and it is terrific, but our history of not working collaboratively with them hurts us. We have to show them that we are sincere and we can be trusted to help them deliver incremental value to the customer,” Cooper said.

From Dell Canada’s market analysis there is an increase in dollars for Ontario and Canadian healthcare and IT is looked upon as required infrastructure that enables the services.

The key areas are in cost reduction through technology and in patient outcomes, according to Cooper.

He added that government funding and investment in healthcare is being encouraged even during this financial crisis.

“Our job as a company is to educate companies that IT is the infrastructure similar to roads, sewers and other things. IT is necessary and it is approaching utility status. We see this as a big opportunity for Dell. Those opportunities are driven by customer needs and we need to work with those customers and the right partners to make it happen,” he said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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