Channel partners discuss Dell’s journey to record-high NPS

Several years ago, it was not uncommon for small PC resellers and other Canadian channel partners to worry about getting undercut by Dell. Some partners called it “Getting Dell’d”.

But rather than ignore these issues, Dell Technologies appears to have taken the feedback over the years seriously. At its Canada Partner Summit in Toronto Nov. 19, Andre Valiquette, Dell Canada’s channel chief, revealed a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 78 in Canada, the seventh-highest score out of all the regions that Dell Technologies operates in. Channel partners in North America gave the company an NPS score of 56 for the first half of FY 2020.

Valiquette told audience members at the summit that “100 per cent of that increase came from Canada.”

There’s also been a strong rise in the number of Canadian deal registrations over the last six quarters, indicated Valiquette, and Canada alone has added over 8,000 net-new NBI [New Business Incentive] submissions.

But in addition to improved sales and account relationships, better products and solutions, and a growing list of online training tools, Valiquette told reporters after his presentation that Dell Canada’s decision to be more region-focused was crucial to building a better relationship with partners.

“There was a reason we did that, and it was to double down on partners … that was around four-and-a-half years ago before the [EMC] merger,” he said. “A lot of our partners are regional in nature. Few go multi-region and then fewer go national, so in order to have a partner-led strategy, you have to have a connection with the field organization at the regional level.”

An NPS score of 78 is great news, said Valiquette, but he was quick to say on stage that these numbers change rapidly and that there’s still room for improvement around deal registrations, shipping, tracking and delivery of orders.

“There’s going to be times where registration processes are not perfect,” he told Channel Daily News afterward. “You’re going to have situations where somebody thinks that they’ve got all the answers. So the topic is not about whether there’s conflict or not, it’s how you address them.”

The greater alignment between Dell Technologies and its partners is seen in the global numbers as well. Two years ago, Dell Technologies’ channel revenue was $43 billion. That number, indicated Cheryl Cook, Dell Technologies senior vice-president of partner marketing, has since ballooned to $52 billion.

Andre Valiquette, Dell Canada’s channel chief, on stage at Dell EMC’s partner summit. Photo by Alex Coop.

A shining example

Teknicor, the Shining Star award winner for the most “all-in” Dell partner in Canada and the “smaller, arms-length version of Dell EMC”, according to Sal DeMasi, hosts Dell Technologies employees at their office all the time.

“They spend a lot of time at our office,” said the director data protection solutions for the Woodbridge-based solution provider. “Every year we reevaluate the different technologies and we always circle back to Dell Technologies.”

One of Teknicor’s customers, the Nunavut government, suffered a ransomware attack earlier this month, resulting in the encryption of the majority of its digital files. While it took several weeks to get back up and running – with the help of Teknicor staff – DeMasi said the ransomware attack’s impact was less severe thanks to the Dell infrastructure that was in place.

Additionally, without a tight alignment with Dell, the Nunavut government would have been impossible to service in the first place, he added.

“Our partnership through Dell allows us to stretch to all parts of Canada,” explained DeMasi, noting how important that is to remote communities where IT resources are scarce. “We came together to figure out how we were going to help solve the regional IT issue that exists there.”

In the federal government arena, competition is fierce, and for Ottawa-based solution provider Northern Micro – which is now part of Converge Technology Solutions – the right partnerships make all the difference.

“Ottawa is a noisy market. There’s a lot of people servicing the same customers and it’s a challenging market, but [Dell] has really done a good job of trying to keep the lines of communication open,” said Emily Martin, president of Northern Micro. “We’re one of the few federal partners that has an all-in Dell strategy, in particular within the data centre space. And that’s not an easy thing to maintain but it’s unique for us, and the Dell team has been really good at recognizing what strengths we bring to the table, which is really the completeness of our portfolio and the services that we attach.”

The new AI Source List vehicle for government contracts, added Martin, is an area where their relationship with Dell really delivers value. The AI Source List is the government’s list of pre-qualified suppliers that can “provide Canada with responsible and effective artificial intelligence services, solutions and products.”

The clear lines of communication between Northern Micro and Dell Technologies has helped them win a lot of these types of contracts, she added. Sometimes they’re able to bring another partner into the conversation as well.

“Now we’re making introductions to the [Dell] field sales team and saying, ‘Hey, these guys can help you deliver this thing for that customer that you know, we can only help with this part but they can help with this part.’ Partnering is getting more complicated, but I think also more important in order to achieve the right outcome.”

The pair of channel partners were also asked about the recent announcement of Dell EMC PowerOne, an autonomous infrastructure that unites PowerEdge compute, PowerMax storage, PowerSwitch networking, and VMware virtualization into a single system.

“We’re very excited to see where it goes,” said Martin. “Part of the reason why the government has its cloud-first IT strategy is that they don’t have enough operators for the number of workloads that they need to support. Getting that agility and autonomous capabilities on-prem is really critical for them for the longterm success of their hybrid technology strategy. What PowerOne is offering is a way of getting that on-prem agility.”

DeMasi echoed Martin’s statements.

“I see [PowerOne] as the more modernized offering of what VBlock once was –  bringing three great technologies into one.”

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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