When it comes to Dell's partner communications, subtle statements -- and non-statements -- count for a lot. On the one hand, Dell has worked overtime to tell VARs and managed service providers how to participate in the company's growing partner program. Kudos. But on the other hand, Dell is potentially sabotaging its own partner program with some of its software as a service (SaaS) press materials.
A prime example: Check out the press release announcing Dell has completed its $155 million buyout of MessageOne, a SaaS specialist. It plays up the small business managed services/SaaS angle (smart) but makes zero mention of Dell's partners (not smart). Here's the deal.
Dell's PR messaging states that MessageOne is "part of the company’s strategy to use SaaS applications and remote management tools to deliver configure-to-order IT infrastructure services to commercial customers over the Internet." So far, so good.
Now, the problem. The Dell release goes on to say:
"With its acquisition of SilverBack Technologies, Inc., Everdream Corp., ASAP Software Express, Inc. and now MessageOne, Dell is architecting an integrated service delivery platform of SaaS applications THAT WILL ENABLE IT to remotely monitor, maintain, troubleshoot and address the majority of routine IT infrastructure issues that challenge businesses of all sizes. "The VAR Guy emphasized four key words ("THAT WILL ENABLE IT") on purpose. As currently worded, the release suggests that the Dell service delivery platform is for Dell alone -- and not for partners. With a few simple word tweaks, ("ENABLE DELL AND ITS PARTNERS TO..."), the company could have delivered a far more inclusive message to partners.
Did Dell purposely ignore partners with this release? Perhaps not. Are all of Dell's SaaS offerings designed for partners? No. But some certainly involve partners. And minor omissions related to partners can turn into major issues as Dell seeks to recruit and retain trusted partners.
The VAR Guy covers "what's next" in the IT channel. He blogs daily at our sister site, www.theVARguy.com.