Dell Technologies Warms Up to the Channel
(Pictured above: Dell EMC’s Gregg Ambulos on stage at Dell Technologies World 2019, April 30.)
DELL TECHNOLOGIES WORLD — By all accounts, Dell Technologies had a great fiscal 2019 (ended February 2019) — product sales were up, the company gained market share, and revenue was about $91 billion. Globally, the channel drove over in $50 billion in orders, representing 17% year-on-year growth and gained 63,000 new customers. Dell is all pumped to keep the momentum going. So it’s no surprise that the company is focusing a lot of its messaging to partners on trust, improving the selling motion and eliminating barriers.
Joyce Mullen, president, channel sales, Dell Technologies, stressed that point in her keynote to partners at the Global Partner Summit at Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas on Monday, and Gregg Ambulos, senior vice president, North America channel sales at Dell EMC, did the same at Tuesday’s North America partner breakout.
“The only way we can resist and defy gravity and rise above it, is to trust each other. We’ve heard about trust every day at this conference,” Ambulos said to attendees. “As Joyce said yesterday, trust is very much a two-way street and we need to earn your trust every day. And, we do that by walking the talk and following through on our promises and talking straight to one another.”
Hearing more about Dell’s engagement with partners was high on the list of what Chris Saso, chief technology officer, at Dasher Technologies, an IT solution provider and platinum Dell partner, was hoping to learn more about at the partner breakout session.
“The topic of not competing against Dell direct is always a topic of interest,” Saso told Channel Futures. “Making that clear every year is important to us because we invest a lot in Dell and we’d like them to be clear — it’s baby steps.”
Dasher is a 20-year old company that focuses on the data center, cloud, networking and security. Like many partners who attend vendor conferences, one-on-one meetings with company executives and making connections is where partners get the most value for their time.
Another burning question that was top of mind for Dell partners is what changes to expect since the company went public? To answer that question, Michael Dell, chairman and CEO, was on stage to paint of picture of what’s ahead.
“There’s no changes to the strategy – this move allowed us to simplify our capital structure, align even more closely with VMware and give us more flexibility to stay on offense,” said Dell. “We’re as committed as we’ve ever been to consolidating the industry, growing faster than the overall market, and staying on offense. No change at all.”
Coming off a year of excellent growth, and now that Dell has raised its performance bar, some industry watchers expressed concern about a repeat performance in 2020 as a public company. Time will tell.
Before hearing top Dell executives, John Byrne, president, North America commercial sales, and Chris Riley, president, Americas enterprise sales and customer operations, answer several frequently asked questions about how Dell can work better and more consistently in the field, attendees first heard from keynote speaker, Rob “Waldo” Waldman.
Waldman is retired Air Force Lt. Col., former F-16 fighter pilot and combat veteran who flew 65 missions addressed attendees. His keynote topic – the same as his best-selling book – “Never Fly Solo.’
Waldo’s core message: “You can’t do it alone. I always had my wingman to help me not only survive but win.”
The combined business led by Byrne and Riley is about $42 billion. They both want to attack the market together with partners.
“We want to win the modern data center with partners,” said Byrne. “You have to have the account executive sit with the partner account manager and go to market as a collective organization — that’s when we win.”
Riley talked about how in many instances in the partner relationship, there’s need for better account planning.
“And, then holding us accountable on that play,” he said. “We can’t fix what we’re not aware of.”
Partners were encouraged to report channel-conflict issues to Dell, and expect that they’ll get confidentiality and not get burned on the back end.
This year, Dell Technologies World felt more grown up than ever before, perhaps in more ways than one.
Anurag Agrawal, CEO and analyst at Techaisle described the change. “Fragments of Dell’s seven business units are beginning to coalesce around being the supplier of choice for essential business infrastructure. And, Dell Technologies is also taking note of competition that is rapidly moving into the cloud category, which has potentially accelerated across products and initiatives of Dell/VMware.