Dell: Watch for Global MSP Push?

Dell: Watch for Global MSP Push?

Dell Global Channel Chief Greg Davis for Managed ServicesGreg Davis (pictured) is leaping from Dell's North American channel chief slot into a new role as Dell's global channel chief. As an advocate of Dell's managed services strategy, it's safe to expect Davis to focus on a global MSP-oriented push. For VARs and MSPs that remain sceptical of Dell, here are a few key points to keep in mind.

Generally speaking, MSPmentor and our sister site (TheVARguy.com) have been neutral to positive when covering Dell's PartnerDirect channel program. Plenty of folks still don't trust Dell. But MSPmentor thinks Dell realizes PartnerDirect is the company's best hope for restoring profit growth and appeasing Wall Street investors over the long haul.

Short term, Dell will surely make mistakes. Rogue Dell salespeople will, from time to time, clash with solutions providers and MSPs. But Davis is a stand-up guy. He's already blogging about the new global channel chief position. And his commitment to answering partner inquiries is genuine. Now, Davis is taking his North American channel experience and applying it on a global basis.

Some trends to watch:

1. Big vs. Small: Dell recently won a massive managed services contract with the State of Georgia. I think Dell will leave small business engagements to small MSPs. The challenge will be in the mid-market. As MSPs push upstream and Dell pushes downstream, channel conflict may occur. Dell's deal registration system (which Davis explained in this MSPmentor Live: Podcast) aims to mitigate those channel conflicts.

2. Dell Lead Generation for MSPs: Imagine the following scenario: Dell sells servers directly to Acme Inc., a small business in Los Angeles. A few weeks later, Dell has a third-party marketing agency call Acme Inc. to see if the small business needs managed services support from local VARs. Dell is testing that type of lead generation system for VARs and MSPs right now. Peter Klanian, a Dell channel manager, explained the strategy to me during our December MSPmentor Live: CEO Exchange Webcast.

3. Direct MSP Sales: Yes, Dell has been testing direct managed services sales in Austin and now in New York. Will Dell ultimately get addicted to its direct MSP revenue -- and abandon channel partners? That sounds like a stretch to me. But I do realize MSPs and VARs in Austin and New York (and future Dell direct MSP markets...) need to keep a close eye on Dell's strategy.

4. Dell Global MSP Opportunities: I suspect Dell's next big MSP partner push will involve Europe. But the hardware giant would be wise to set up MSP field offices in India as well as Australia.  Both countries have reached an MSP tipping point. I say that based on my own visit to Australia in October as well as my ongoing contact with a range of software industry pundits located in India.

In the US, Davis has worked hard to ensure Dell's direct sales team doen't trample VARs. For the most part, that work seems to have paid off. Now, Davis will need to make sure Dell's international salesforce honors MSPs across the globe. That's no small challenge.

5. How MSPs Can Win: Plenty of MSPs remain wary of Dell. But in this bad economy, I suspect Dell is willing to work far more aggressively with MSPs. Earlier today Intel announced that its quarterly revenue will drop more than 20 percent compared to the same period last year. That means PC makers are also feeling a major revenue squeeze. So Davis and Dell will need to accelerate the company's shift toward managed services and hosted systems -- and channel partners.

Advantage: MSPs.

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TAGS: MSP 501
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