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Dell EMC's Cheryl Cook: We're Refining, Not Changing Channel Strategy

Cheryl Cook, Dell EMC's senior vice president of global channel marketing, talks about the goals behind new partner benefits and opportunities, and keeping it simple for the channel.

**Editor's Note: Read our recap from Michael Dell's keynote at Dell Technologies World on April 30.**

DELL TECHNOLOGIES WORLD — Dell EMC kicked off its Global Partner Summit 2018 Monday by unveiling new programs, incentives and solutions designed to accelerating its partners’ delivery of digital, IT, security and workforce transformations to their customers.

The new additions build on the Dell EMC channel’s year-over-year double-digit revenue growth, while offering new opportunities to its global partners. Dell EMC's channel is now a $43 billion business, with partners adding 54,000 new customers last year and making 400,000 approved deals.

The partner summit is colocated with Dell Technologies World 2018 in Las Vegas.

Dell Technologies includes Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, SecureWorks, Virtustream and VMware. The new Dell Technologies Advantage framework for partners will make it easier for partners to work across the Dell Technologies family of businesses with engagement, tools and incentives.

While each business will continue to have its own independent program, the new framework’s value-added capabilities and certifications enhance the ability to more easily and efficiently deliver positive business outcomes from across the Dell Technologies portfolio.

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Cheryl Cook, Dell EMC's senior vice president of global channel marketing, talks about the goals behind the new partner benefits and opportunities, and keeping it simple for the channel.

Channel Futures: How has Dell's channel strategy changed/evolved with everything that's taken place, the changing mix of companies in Dell family, mix of public and private, and so on?

Cheryl Cook: We launched our unified channel program in February of 2017 and we just saw phenomenal success last year, so I wouldn't say we're changing our strategy; we're really just refining it. We're finding that our strategy is working. We made a commitment to the partner community to make our best efforts at being simple, predictable and profitable. What you will see this year at the show is really we're trying to embrace the Dell Technologies' advantage and how the partners can take advantage of the relationships with VMware as well as Pivotal – as well as Dell EMC – in pulling together these transformational solutions.

Cheryl Cook

CF: How would you sum up all of the new programs, incentives and solutions for partners?

CC: We're launching a new internet of things (IoT) competency (to help) our partners really monetize these emerging technologies, and we will have solution competencies around hybrid cloud, data analytics, business applications and security. There's a whole host of incentives that we've launched focusing on storage and where we're driving, and how it's on the forefront of all of the data and protecting that data, and driving these new, emerging applications. So there's a lot of excitement with partners on how to help them have consulting, transformative solution-based conversations rather than just product-oriented conversations, and really leverage ... our Dell Financial Services and certainly the portfolio of products, but really engage and embrace what we're bringing to them to enable them to be successful.

CF: What fueled your channel's double-digit revenue growth and what prompted all of the changes announced here?

CC: We're really thrilled at the results that we've both enjoyed in the last year and we thought, and I believe our partners are validating, that there was an amazing cross-sell opportunity for our partner base. We're seeing our partners engage in more meaningful end-to-end conversations. I think the fact that we differentiate with the breadth of our portfolio, from the edge to the core – and to the cloud – is resonating. We've just achieved No. 1 in the world in both units and revenue in our server business. As the industry goes software-defined, we've got the best market-leading franchise of compute and servers in the business, coupled with the leadership position VMware has on virtualized technology. I just think it's a natural match that the partners are finding a lot of relevance – a lot of power – and frankly it's fueling the growth that we're both enjoying right now.

CF: How will the Dell Technologies Advantage framework for partners make it easier for channel partners to work across the Dell Technologies family of businesses?

CC: We absolutely believe that we've got the most powerful assets of companies and technologies to lead us and our partners through this transformational era. And what we're doing is we're building reference architectures ... and we're leaning in around business models and consumption models with Dell Financial Services. So as they engage customers that increasingly want changes to business consumption models, we can help them wrap the end-to-end solution both with financing ... and reference architectures to just help them be able to keep pace, and frankly mitigate risk. Our partners can work with the Dell Technologies companies and have confidence that they've got a highly engineered, better-together solution that can be faster to revenue and mitigate risk for their customers' demands.

CF: And how will the new Dell Ready Stack program help partners?

CC: We have brought engineered solutions ... to market, but we also understand and acknowledge that a lot of times our customers or our partners want to be able to integrate and build it themselves. So what this Ready Stack program is going to be is, when they want to build it themselves, it gives them a reference architecture on how they can enable the components of compute, storage, networking and VMware to have an assured, certified reference architecture to build their own.

CF: What are you hearing from partners? What are they asking for and how is their feedback coming into play with everything announced this week?

CC: Our partners genuinely support and agree with the strategy. They believe the strategy is spot on. Anything we can do to help make it simpler to do business with us is certainly welcome, so it's, "How can we shoulder some of the complexity of the solutions, but also the engagements?" We're just very focused on keeping the friction out of the model. How do we ensure that it can be simpler for them to conduct business and be able to continue the pace that we're enjoying?

CF: Is there anything you would like to add?

CC: The only other area I'd like to focus on is services. We know increasingly to engage in these consultative conversations, it's a services-led conversation. Our partners have amazing services, but we're doing a lot of work on our services side to simplify, standardize and really drive consistency for their deployment and certification, as well as the ability for them to make it easier to sell services in a more profitable way.

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