Dell Technologies Channel Chief Joyce Mullen's Exit 'a Bit Surprising'

Unfortunately, one analyst told us, the channel’s contribution to Dell Technologies' annual revenue didn't grow enough during Mullen's tenure.

Lynn Haber

July 10, 2020

4 Min Read
Exit sign

Dell Technologies channel chief Joyce Mullen is leaving the company. Mullen has been the global channel leader for Dell since November 2017.


Dell’s Joyce Mullen

Mullen, president, global channels, embedded and edge solutions, is a 21-year veteran with Dell. She rose in the ranks to fill the top channel slot when John Byrne left the job. He moved on to become president, North America commercial sales. The company has not yet named a new channel executive to replace Mullen, who formerly departs the company mid-August.

Dell announced a myriad of organizational shifts earlier this year, including the retirement of Marius Haas, president and chief commercial officer.

Mullen wasn’t available for comment, but Dell issued the following statement from Mullen:

“After 21 years, I’ve made the extremely difficult decision to move on to a new challenge. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed over two decades at Dell, and while I will miss this incredible team and world-class partner ecosystem, I move on knowing that Bill Scannell and our entire channel team will continue to provide partners with industry-leading opportunities and a best-in-class partner experience. On a personal note, I’d like to thank all of our partners for the collaboration and friendship over the years. It’s all of you who have made my time here so memorable. I will always be cheering for Dell Technologies.”

Mullen gets credit for the new and rebranded Dell Technologies Partner Program announced at Dell Global Partner Summit, held in conjunction with Dell Technologies World in April 2019. The revamped program featured simplified engagement, training and competencies, new badging and broader opportunities around storage and next-generation cloud solutions.

Partner Reaction

“The program she’s been instrumental in putting in place is a good legacy and good foundation. It’s a testament to the job she’s done,” Matt Stapleton, vice president of sales and marketing at Focus Technology, a Dell Technologies Titanium partner, told Channel Futures.

“It’s a bit surprising to me to see a legacy Dell person leaving. I wouldn’t have been as surprised if it was a legacy EMC person leaving. I know a lot of these folks have left over time,” he said.

Prior to working at Focus for almost five years, Stapleton worked at EMC for about 16 years.

“Dell has a pretty deep bench of folks and is a good organization. I’m sure [Dell] will backfill Mullen with a quality person. I have no reservations from a partner perspective that anything will fall off.”

The news surprised more than just Stapleton.


Forrester’s Jay McBain

“I was surprised by the sudden departure and the fact that it showed up in the media first. Senior, highly visible position changes such as this are usually better planned and executed with a successor being named immediately or the transition time being announced,” Jay McBain, principal analyst, channels, partnerships and alliances at Forrester told Channel Futures.

Again, Dell hasn’t commented on a successor yet.

“Joyce Mullen is a very well-respected channel chief among the channel partner community because of her simplicity, transparency and accessibility. The typical tenure of a channel chief in the industry has been 18 months, but Joyce Mullen successfully broke that norm,” Anurag Agrawal, founder and chief global analyst at Techaisle, told Channel Futures.

“During her almost three-year tenure, she successfully focused on improving partner profitability for which partners have great appreciation. Unfortunately, channel’s contribution to Dell Technologies’ annual revenue remained around US $52 billion and her campaign to motivate partners to sell more than three lines of business (LoBs) met with limited success,” he said.

Next Up?

That $52 billion represents over half of the company’s revenue. So what does Dell have to do to maintain or grow that revenue? And what type of channel leadership should the company be looking for?

“To succeed in the multicloud, hybrid cloud, and emerging technology areas, Dell needs to continue to grow the ecosystem of tech partners, ISVs, etc.,” offered McBain.

Agrawal contends that channel partners have reached an inflection point.


Techaisle’s Anurag Agrawal

“Dell Technologies needs a channel chief that can understand and define the characteristics of the future channel and therefore develop and deploy a transformative partner program,” he said. “Inexorably, the market has shifted from one defined by discrete purchase-and-deploy deals aligned with refresh cycles to one where customers take a ‘hybrid IT’ approach that blends a limited number of on-premises assets with a growing range of on-demand services.

“To that extent, channel partners and channel chiefs must alter their thinking toward the business of the channel in order to be successful in the future IT market. The new Dell channel chief should transition from operational to transformational, from conventional wisdom to new imperatives,” said Agrawal.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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