Dell Prepares to Brief Managed Service Providers

Dell on May 1 is set to host a webinar for its certified managed service provider partners. The company is working overtime to brief press (including MSPmentor) about the webinar.

I will certainly welcome the briefing. I beat up Dell a bit on April 25 for issuing a press release in which the company described how end-customers will benefit from managed services. Unfortunately, the release made no mention of Dell's MSP partners.

This time around, I expect Dell to communicate much more clearly. Here's what to expect from the company on May 1.

For starters, Greg Davis, VP and general manager, Americas Channel Group, and Mike Menegay, director, Dell Business Services, will brief MSPmentor and other media members on Thursday morning.

Davis spent about an hour on the phone with MSPmentor last month, and I came away pretty impressed. He conceded that Dell's partner strategy will be a long road, and he pointed out several areas where Dell continues to make improvements.

Also since that time, Dell has announced plans to launch a channel-centric blog, which will allow partners to interact more closely with Dell. The announcement surfaced on MSPmentor's sister site, TheVARguy.com.

To Dell's credit, the company has used Web 2.0 technologies (example: IdeaStorm) to build community and solidify business strategies with its partners and customers.

Balancing Act

During the May 1 Webcast, Davis and Menegay will need to walk a tightrope. On the one hand, Dell needs partners to service and support small and midsize business customers running Dell hardware. But on the other hand, Dell plans to beta test direct managed services engagements with some SMB customers.

Dell has been open about these direct MSP customer engagements, informing partners through a written letter. And Davis has been a stand-up guy when partners push for answers. (I don't know Menegay as well, so I can't comment about his interactions so far with partners.)

Stay tuned to more perspectives on May 1, and let me know if you plan to listen in on the Dell Webcast. I hear an invite has gone out to Dell's partners, but I did not received the invite since the event is limited to certified Dell MSPs.
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