LAS VEGAS – The Global Partner Summit at Dell Technologies World was light on major announcements, but partners appeared to be more interested in the opportunities Dell’s refreshed product lineup and new cloud capabilities yield for the future.
For Softchoice in particular, the announcement about Microsoft allowing its customers on Azure to manage their workloads with VMware’s virtualization software spurred an immediate response from the Canadian solution provider, according to Chris Woodin, who leads the firm’s business development group.
“We help thousands of customers adopt Azure…we also help hundreds of customers build private clouds using VMware Cloud Foundations. We have all the building blocks to build the solution…our team is working over time this week to develop offerings around this new capability,” Woodin told CDN. There were whispers of the Azure integration leading up to Dell Technologies World, he said, but it was uncertain when the official announcement would drop. “I would say this is the biggest announcement we’ve had the chance to take advantage of in the past two years, which is why we’re putting so many resources into it and moving so quickly.”
Leaning more on partners – Two years ago, $43 billion of Dell’s overall revenues came from partners. Today, that number is $50 billion, which is more than 50 per cent of the vendor’s overall revenue.
Dell’s continued investments in hardware products, of which there were many this week, in addition to the compelling cloud strategy led by its subsidiary VMware, have made the investments in Dell Technologies a lot easier to justify in recent years, said Daniel Reio, director of product and partner management for CDW Canada.
“I don’t think there’s one announcement specifically that we are overly excited about, but just the culmination of all the technologies that Dell brings forward, it really is a comprehensive portfolio that really no other partner has,” he told CDN. “Dell really has the widest portfolio of any partner that we work with today.”
Dell’s rapid ascension among CDW Canada’s list of partners is impressive, considering it was only four years ago when the two officially tied the knot, added Reio.
“Before that CDW did not sell Dell at all,” he explained, but noted they had close relationships with some of its other brands, such as VMware, EMC and RSA. “Dell was a very direct-centric company… and so there had always been conversations over the years between our organizations, but there just needed to be a set of things that we could both agree upon that made it the right time for a partnership.”
Dell, with its ear to the ground, heard similar stories from its other partners, many of which were unsure what impact a strategic alliance would have on their existing relationships with the individual brands in the Dell family. It’s why Dell announced this week that it was rebranding its two-year-old Dell EMC Partner Program to the Dell Technologies Partner Program.
“Our partners asked us to make it easier to do business across our full Dell Technologies portfolio, so we made it a top priority,” said Joyce Mullen, president of global channel, OEM and IoT solutions for Dell EMC.
During a roundtable discussion, Cheryl Cook, senior vice-president of global channel for Dell EMC, reminded everyone that in February they announced VMware solutions purchased through Dell would count toward Dell EMC Partner Program tier requirements. That benefit is now being extended to all sales from Dell’s strategically aligned businesses transacted through the Dell Technologies Partner Program. Additional training resources that help identify where and when other lines of businesses can fit into a customer solution can be expected, too.
“We’re trying to, first of all, make things more simple, and two, if there’s an opportunity for partners to have the best of both worlds they can have that,” said Cook. “If they’re in the VMware or Pivotal partner program, they’ll continue to receive the benefits of those programs.”
Why bother with a strategic alliance?
Individuals and organizations are beginning to understand the full scope of Dell Technologies and its seven lines of businesses, but some confusion remains.
This week Dell executives were frequently asked what advantages a strategic alliance with its six other lines of business yield over a much more straight-forward takeover of those organizations.
“Keeping them separate but aligned with a strategically aligned vision and strategy gives us the nimbleness of a startup while maintaining our status as a big infrastructure player,” explained Paul Katigbak, president commercial sales at Dell EMC Canada.
Andre Valiquette, Dell EMC’s new national director of channel sales, confirmed that partners in Canada are levering the VMware line of business the most out of the entire Dell family. There’s an increasing amount of interest in Pivotal as well.
More than 50 per cent of partners are tapping into at least two, if not three, lines of businesses when selling to a customer, Darren Sullivan, senior vice-president of global partner strategy and business operations for Dell Technologies told CDN. He added partners that sell across three lines of businesses are growing 20 times faster than partners that only sell one, but admitted there is no clear correlation between partner growth and partner engagement with Dell’s lines of businesses. But with customers increasingly seeking end-to-end solutions that minimize the need to engage with multiple partners, being well-versed across Dell’s portfolio doesn’t hurt.