Does Michael Dell work closely with channel partners? Consider these anecdotes: Last week, Dell (pictured, left) and Channel Chief Greg Davis (right) hosted about a dozen partners in San Jose, Calif. The week before, Davis and Dell had lunch with partners in New York City.

The VAR Guy

June 7, 2012

3 Min Read
Michael Dell, Greg Davis Stay In Front of Partners

michael dell

greg davis

Does Michael Dell work closely with channel partners? Consider these anecdotes: Last week, Dell (pictured, left) and Channel Chief Greg Davis (right) hosted about a dozen partners in San Jose, Calif. The week before, Davis and Dell had lunch with partners in New York City. So yes, Michael Dell is focused on channel partners. And Dell’s channel business growth continues to outpace the market. So what’s next? Some storage and cloud surprises will emerge at Dell Storage Forum in Boston next week.

Of course, The VAR Guy needs to state the obvious: Dell’s most recent quarterly results fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. And during a phone call today, Davis did not hype Dell’s performance amid challenging PC and economic conditions. But today Davis did point to Dell’s continued growth in the channel. He noted:

  • Dell’s worldwide commercial channel business grew 12 percent in Q1. “I feel pretty good that we’re growing faster than the market; we’re winning and taking share.”

  • Still, the pace of growth has slowed a bit; Dell exited Q4 with 24% commercial channel business growth. “But we’re still happy and pleased with double-digit [Q1 channel growth] amid some of the economic challenges around the globe.”

  • Dell’s channel partner program continues to deliver a consistent value prop. “We are the most stable and reliable channel business for partners in our industry right now,” he asserted. Without mentioning HP by name, Davis seemed to be pointing to Hewlett-Packard’s continued executive and business changes.

  • Channel partners completed more than 35,000 training courses in Q1, and Davis hopes partners complete 200,000 courses with Dell this year. What’s the motivation: Top partners that completed training grew their Dell-related sales 71% in Q1. “Customers are willing to pay for well-trained Dell partners,” said Davis.

  • Partners registered 62,600 customer deals with Dell in Q1, and Dell approved 72% of registered deals. Dell attracts 1,500 to 1,800 deal registrations per week, with Dell committed to responding within 48 hours.

So what’s next?

  • More than 270 partners have registered for next week’s Dell Storage Forum in Boston. At the event, listen for Dell to extend its cloud partner program beyond cloud builders to increasingly focus on cloud providers (next) and then cloud services opportunities (later this year).

  • Davis continues to focus on M&A channel integrations. Dell’s buyout of SonicWall, completed four weeks ago, involves 14,000 channel partners. The Wyse buyout, completed about 10 days ago, involves 3,000. “Both have global businesses that are 100 percent through the channel.”

  • On the networking front, Dell closed the Force10 deal about nine months ago; nearly 80 percent of the integration is done and the “channel business continues to outperform our target,” said Davis. In the next two months or so, the Force10 channel will become more integrated with Dell, and Force10 channel leader Michael O’Brien will continue to drive the networking channel forward.

Also, keep an eye on Boomi, Dell’s cloud integration tool. So far Boomi has been mostly an end-customer play. But it sounds like Dell plans to turn partners onto Boomi soon.

Overall, Davis sounds pleased with the structure and principles in place for Dell’s channel strategy. He concedes that Dell faces a key challenge: To be the easiest company with whom to do business. “But that’s a challenge as you integrate companies” through acquisitions, Davis conceded.

Bottom line: “I think our structure and value prop continues to resonate and we continue to grow [our channel business] faster than the market.”

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