Dell Services has won a six-year managed services engagement with TUI Travel PLC, a European travel company that serves 30 million customers in 27 markets. The deal intrigues me for two reasons: First, it includes several core enterprise offerings that many smaller MSPs promote into the SMB market. Second, there are signs within Dell that the hardware giant is evaluating a cloud computing channel strategy for VARs and MSPs.
First, the announced news: According to a Dell press release, TUI Travel will leverage:
- Dell Services to manage desktop and laptop IT, Managed Print, and Active Directory and Exchange;
- the solution provides cloud-based client hardware and software asset management;
- services include Desktop Field Services and Service Desk support such as help desk, patch management, deployment, maintenance, software compliance, and Windows 7 migrations; and
- the contract includes the provision and deployment of laptop and desktop hardware.
Brainstorming Ideas?But there's a side story here as well. It involves Dell's second look at recurring revenue partner engagements. Around 2008, Dell spent considerable time promoting managed services to channel partners. But those efforts have been mostly silent in recent months. Dell Managed Services are still available to VARs and MSPs, but I don't hear much about Dell actively promoting the services to channel partners.
That could change in the next few months. Short term, it sounds like Dell's channel team is busy ensuring the Compellent Technologies acquisition delivers channel storage dividends to partners. Longer term, it sounds like Dell insiders see an opportunity to build -- or at least test -- a cloud computing partner program for VARs and MSPs. Firm details have yet to be disclosed but we're listening closely to Dell for more clues.
Most major hardware industry players have been launching cloud partner programs in recent months. Recent examples include moves by IBM and Cisco Systems. And Hewlett-Packard is rumored to be working on some cloud partner program moves in time for the HP Americas Partner Conference later this month.
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