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How CDN chose the Top Newsmakers of the year

Dell's channel chief is the year's Top Newsmaker. Find out how Greg Davis beat out executives from NexInnovations, D&H Distributing and Dimension Data

This is how the editorial team at ITWorld Canada, the publishers of CDN, arrived at Greg Davis as the top newsmaker for 2007.

It all started with a leaked memo from the desk of Michael Dell. “The direct model is a revolution; not a religion.”

Then came the denials and a lot of rhetoric, but at the heart of this statement was real change coming from a company that had poked fun at the channel and called us irrelevant.

There are still a lot of hard feelings towards Dell and I am sure a few of our readers want Dell’s channel efforts to fail miserably. But, I say to those who wish this: what is the point of that. What will that accomplish?

Davis, the second American to be named CDN’s top newsmaker, is the main character in this drama. As the GM of Dell Canada he was the defender of the direct selling strategy in this country. Now, he has taken on what I believe to be one of the greatest challenges in business history to create a channel program that will resonate with solution providers who basically hate Dell’s guts.

And while at times this year it looked like a smoke and mirrors job from Davis, he actual has a strategy and plan in place. He will also embark on a worldwide tour to sell it to the channel.

Now Dell entering the channel is a major story, but Davis was not going to be the top newsmaker without this program. There were several other worthy executives such as Greg Tobin of D&H and Wendy Lucas of Dimension Data that actually executed on plans. Then there is Hubert Kelly of NexInnovations and the sad story of what was once a great company.

But Davis is the man. And, to his credit he talks about being an advocate inside Dell for the channel. He will have to be that and more to change a culture of direct selling. He also talks about his job as a journey and at first I thought that was just marketing speak, but I do not think so anymore. For Davis to do this job right to accomplish everything he wants and Dell wants, and more importantly what the channel wants, it will take a journey. This will not be done overnight. It will take three to five years.

He will make mistakes and I hope he will try to improve upon the channel plan.

This is a crossroads year for Dell. Make no mistake about it. For Dell to remain a relevant player, it needs the channel. You can thank yourself for that because Dell, for more than 23 years, believed in its heart, mind and soul that it did not need you.

The channel proved otherwise. The channel will be in the driver’s seat for a change. Now it is time for Davis to prove that Dell really wants to do right by you.