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New Dell EMC Channel Chief Mullen: IoT 'at the Core of Digital Transformation'New Dell EMC Channel Chief Mullen: IoT 'at the Core of Digital Transformation'

Dell EMC's new top channel executive, Joyce Mullen, gives her three top objectives for 2018.

Lynn Haber

December 1, 2017

6 Min Read
Q&A

Joyce Mullen, an 18-year Dell veteran, is the new channel chief at Dell EMC, taking over the position held for the past year and a half by John Byrne. Byrne is moving on to head North American commercial sales.

Dell EMC partners recently received an email on the change of channel leadership from Marius Haas, president and chief commercial officer, Dell EMC.

“Joyce will be a phenomenal leader as she takes the reins of the $43 billion global channels business. She brings tremendous savvy, instincts and commitment to the role, having led OEM and IoT solutions for several years. Joyce has been instrumental in building the Dell EMC Partner Program, and will carry forth the baton of continuing to make it the envy of the industry,” he wrote.

Dell EMC's Joyce Mullen

Dell EMC’s Joyce Mullen

With Mullen’s appointment, Dell EMC has consolidated OEM and IoT into her new role and title — president, global channels, OEM and IoT. We discuss this in our interview. Mullen previously held the title of senior vice president and general manager, global OEM and IoT solutions, where she worked with both OEM partners and IoT partners. In a recent company bio, she notes that she’s built channel experience leading the company’s OEM partner program since its inception five years ago.

Mullen chatted with Channel Partners to share some thoughts about her new role.

Channel Partners: Tell us about your experience leading the indirect sales channel, i.e. VARs, system integrators, MSPs, solution providers.

Joyce Mullen: We’ve always had a chunk of our OEM business that has gone through system integrators, VARs, those types of partners. In fact, last year as Cheryl [Cook] and John [Byrne] built the [partner] program, we put our channel program into that program, so I have some experience there. I also have experience with the [distributors], having run our software and peripherals team. Our distributors are a critical part of our supply chain, and I’ve been working with, around and for Cheryl and [Dell EMC President] Gregg Davis for a long time, so I’ve been around this space for a while.

CP: Will you also have responsibility and involvement with the company’s partner program?

JM: Sure. The program is led by Kim DeLeon and Cheryl has a big hand in that as well, and that’s part of our organization.

CP: I recently chatted with a channel partner who expressed that doing business with Dell EMC wasn’t getting easier, as promised. Comment?

JM: There’s no question that we have a vision and goal that our program is the most profitable, simplest and the most predictable in the industry. I recently spent a lot of time with the channel leadership team and there [are] a bunch of things that we can do better and we are committed to continuing on this trajectory of knocking over many issues one at a time. We certainly had some opportunities at the beginning, when we had some system-integration challenges and trying to make all the plumbing work effectively and smoothly. We’re through many of those, but a few persist and we’re going to keep knocking those over just as fast as we can.

Cheryl’s team has done an amazing job of pulling together some advisory boards, so we have groups of partners that give us …

… specific feedback – I wasn’t involved in the most recent meetings – but we’ve gotten great feedback on what we can be doing better. The point of those advisory boards is to tell us the good, the bad and the ugly. We’re going to fix those things that are bad and ugly — we have programs around them and people around them to figure out how to reduce the pain, and get to the root cause of issues we see and fix them.

CP: What might you be doing the same or different than when John Byrne held the position?

JM: I think that the combination of this program and the relationships that John and the team [have built] are unbelievably strong. There are definitely things that we need to work on to make things simpler, to make things even more predictable, to make sure that our partners are making money as they add more value to the solutions they bring to their customers.

I wouldn’t expect any major changes in the direction. We’re going to continue to tweak how we think about certain programs, training and enablement to try to do it better. We’re also working on operational improvements to try to make sure that partners are getting the information and answers that they need faster. But I don’t expect wholesale changes. Part of the value proposition to partners is to make sure that they know what to expect. We’re not going to change a whole bunch of things next year.

CP: Would you talk more about bringing OEM and IoT into your channel role, and what that means to partners?

JM: IoT is really at the core of digital transformation, and one that we’re really trying to make sure that everyone understands, is educated on and knows how to contribute to and deliver value. It still is the wild west — there are no standards; there [are] so many small companies working hard to make their way in this space. We’re trying to bring some order to this market, starting with our own capabilities inside of Dell Technologies. We’re going to build solutions that include IT from all of the Dell Technologies companies and also working hand in hand with partners because there’s not a single instance of an IoT solution that we’ve built and deployed where there’s only one company involved.

There are tons of pieces and parts, and you need expertise that is vertical and very operationally specific; … we’ve got a good start with the IoT Solutions Partner Program that we built. I chatted with Cheryl and the team on understanding how to try to incorporate some of those competencies in our enablement for our VARs, distributors, etc. There are also some different kinds of partners that are more influencers than actually VARs, who are going to be very critical to this space. They are building analytics around …

… food supply chain management or truck fleet management or industrial process control management, those types of things. These skills are generally not core to our partner community, so we’re trying to figure out how to build this community where we could help match-make, and connect our partners with some of these smaller companies who have specific expertise in these areas. And, this expertise is required to deliver on the promise of IoT.

CP: What are your top three objectives for 2018?

JM: Top-line growth; to figure out how to grow out the storage market faster with our partners, and drive more profitability for partners and us — that’s a big one; and to continue to address and improve on delivering the promise of our tenets of simplicity and predictability.

CP: Anything else would you like to say to partners?

JM: The biggest thing is that the foundation of the program and the tenets that Cheryl and John have set are absolutely not going to change. We’re committed to this and we’re in this for a very long time. We’re going to continue to listen to our partners and that’s how I’ve always worked at Dell … listen critically and intensively and make sure that we’re working to make their lives better.

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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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