Dell’s channel focus is not so much on PCs

The channel business is good for Dell both in Canada and the U.S. Five years after shocking the industry with its Partner Direct program, the company’s first and only channel chief Greg Davis told CDN that indirect business grew 14 per cent year-over-year. Currently the channel represents 34 per cent of Dell’s overall commercial revenue worldwide.

Davis said he was pleased with Dell’s overall performance in the channel but acknowledged that the market has slowed because of the economy.

Davis said there is a general decline in the PC market and while Dell will continue to sell desktops, notebooks and other client products through the channel the primary focus will be on the data centre with storage, network security, and system management. “I think these areas will continue to help the channel grow even compared to our competitors through these challenging times,” Davis said.

Davis does believe that Windows 8 will pose a great opportunity for the channel. Dell is working with partners on helping them with the Windows 8 launch, but he was adamant that Dell’s focus is much more on the data centre than PCs.

Davis added that Windows 8 would offer a bigger opportunity on the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work trend. He said that the channel can provide consulting and a complete solution that addresses BYOD.

“We can do a better job in bringing (BYOD) out in a competency. We do not have a complete solution yet for a competency and Windows 8 gives us an opportunity to bring our message out to the channel and we shall see what type of interest is there,” Davis said.

Dell continues to bring on more and more partners into the fold. The company now sports more than 113,000 worldwide partners. Davis called that “nice and encouraging” but the real focus for the Partner Direct team is increasing the number of partners who qualify for Dell’s Preferred and Premier levels. There are 2,000 partners in North America at these levels today; 180 in Canada.

One of the factors for the growth is Dell’s deal registration program, Davis said. “This is the lynch pin for partners.” Currently Dell has completed more than 71,000 deals through this program, which is up 37 per cent from last year. “We approve north of 70 per cent of the deals in deal registration and it really helps us define the engagement model we have for partners,” he said.

To that end, Dell has introduced a new competency for its desktop virtualization solutions. Bob Skelley, Dell’s global certified partner program and channel executive director, said new competencies such as this one creates a lot of hardware drag especially in data centres, networking and security. This competency also fits into Dell’s Wyse acquisition. “It does round out the end-to-end solution well with Wyse and it also offers channel partners, who have a relationship with VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix, a competitive edge and a new product offering for their customers,” Skelley said.

This competency will reward partners with baseline incentives as well as product specific benefits for higher discounts. “In many cases there will be longer deal registration time, access to marketing funds and co-marketing built around this competency and solution,” Skelley said.

Wyse channel partners will be grandfathered into PartnerDirect. Skelley said that Dell tried to make it easy for legacy Dell and Wyse partners with this new competency. Clip levels are between $500,000 to $750,000 and Wyse partners have about a year to meet any Partner Direct requirements they do not currently have.

Dell will also recognize and reward solution providers for the investments they have already made.

Another area of focus for Dell’s channel is as an OEM partner. Davis said that Dell has entered into deals with companies in sectors such as telecommunications, healthcare, military, kiosks, and appliance manufacturers to engineer Dell hardware into solutions for these industries.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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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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