Compaq Veteran Drives Dell Australia PartnerDirect Program
Roughly seven weeks after Dell launched its PartnerDirect channel program in Australia, The VAR Guy has landed in the land down under. During his trip, our resident blogger interviewed Rob Makin, director of channel strategy and acquisition for Dell Australia. Here's the scoop.
Roughly seven weeks after Dell launched its PartnerDirect channel program in Australia, The VAR Guy has landed in the land down under. During his trip, our resident blogger interviewed Rob Makin, director of channel strategy and acquisition for Dell Australia. Here’s the scoop.
Makin is a 15-year veteran of IT, with roughly 10 of those years focused on the partner channel working for such companies as Compaq Computer and Vodafone in Europe. Now located in Australia, Makin launched PartnerDirect locally in mid-September 2008.
What’s In Store
Among Dell’s key partners here, according to Makin, is Officeworks — Australia’s largest retailer of office and technology products; sort of the Staples of the land down under. Officeworks also operates Harris Technology, one of Australia’s top five resellers of IT products and services.
Hmmm. Does that mean Harris will become Dell’s feet-on-the-street across Australia? Sounds like that speculation is a bit premature: Officeworks carries a range of Dell products, while Harris Technology promotes more traditional channel brands such as Hewlett-Packard, The VAR Guy noticed.
Rather than building distribution partnerships, Dell Australia (like Dell North America) has designed the company’s web site to allow partners to transact buiness directly with Dell.
Makin won’t disclosed how many partners Dell Australia has signed up so far, but he says the two-tier partner program (Registered Partners and Certified Partners) has gained momentum across all six of Australia’s capital cities and the surrounding regions:
- Sydney (New South Wales)
- Brisbane (Queensland)
- Melbourne (Victoria)
- Adelaide (South Australia)
- Perth (Western Australia)
- Hobart (Tasmania)
Registered Partners offer basic entry-level support, with such features as online procurement, Dell logo usage, account management, and access to demo equipment.
In contrast, Dell is selecting a “handful” of Certified Partners to service high-end SMB (small and mid-size businesses). “These guys will typically show more investment from a technical training point of view,” says Makin. The program has the same benefits as Registered Partners, plus rebates, enhanced financing and credit terms where appropriate, notes Makin.
Within the next few months, Certified Partners will earn the right to offer break-fix services for Dell’s products, Makin says, though an exact date for that announcement has not been disclosed.
Managed Services: Still to Come
While Dell Australia pushes ahead with Registered and Certified Partners, the company has yet to extend its managed services partner program to Australia.
As part of a managed services push, Dell has spent more than year acquiring such companies as Silverback, Everdream and MessageOne. More than 150 managed service providers in North America now work with Dell, but some rivals have expressed concern because Dell also is testing direct sales of managed services in Austin and New York.
Makin declined to say when Dell would start promoting managed services software to partners in Australia. So far, only a few hundred VARs have made the transition to managed services in Australia, The VAR Guy believes, though the Australian market for such software is growing rapidly.
In the meantime, Dell is seeing some key technology trends and opportunities emerge in Australia. Most noteworthy, Makin says, is server consolidation involving VMware.
Hmmm. Perhaps the North American and Australian IT channels have more in common than The VAR Guy thought.
The VAR Guy and the Nine Lives Media Inc. editorial team are blogging live from Australia October 26 through 31, while participating in a series of local managed services conferences. Note: The VAR Guy is updated multiple times daily. Don’t miss a single post. Subscribe to his newsletter, RSS and Twitter feed.