Five Goals for Dell Channel Blog
Within the next few weeks, Dell plans to launch a channel blog to help communicate the company’s partner strategy, and to interact more closely with solutions providers. Smart move. But The VAR Guy hopes Dell takes the following 5 steps with the blog.
Dell announced the forthcoming channel blog right here on TheVARguy.com (see comment #5 on this blog entry). The company, The VAR Guy concedes, has mastered Web 2.0 technologies to communicate more effectively with customers. Check out Dell IdeaStorm if you think otherwise.
But the forthcoming Dell Channel Blog (name pending?) moves Dell into potential hostile territory. Some VARs have long memories and short tempers with Dell. Here’s how Dell can potentially appease those critics with its channel blog.
1. Engage Managed Service Providers: Some rival MSP platform providers continue to slam Dell’s purchase of Silverback and Everdream. They are spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about Dell in the MSP space. The VAR Guy is a bit more open minded, and thinks Dell may actually help MSPs to grow the market. Regardless, Dell’s blog needs to aggressively state — over and over again — where Dell will (and won’t) compete in the MSP space.
2. Stop Dwelling On HP: Privately, Dell insiders tell The VAR Guy that internal meetings are dominated by an obsession to destroy Hewlett-Packard. Vendor feuds are fun to follow. And promotions describing how a Dell server runs cooler than an HP server may help Dell to sell a few more boxes. But the real opportunity for Dell is to break way out of the box, evangelizing software as a service (Everdream), managed services (Silverback), etc.
3. Bring In ISVs: Independent software developers should be central to Dell’s partner and channel blog. The company needs to cross-pollinate opportunities between Dell servers, storage and ISVs like Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft, etc.
4. Exploit Niches: Dell has some interesting work under way with Fonality, a leader in Asterisk-based IP PBXes. It will be easy for Dell to blog about its latest partner-ready laptops, desktops, servers, etc. And those blog entries will generate tons of traffic. But Dell needs to get ahead of the crowd, and should plant seeds for its emerging relationships and emerging partner technologies.
5. Bring In Your Critics: Encourage Dell’s most vocal critics to post comments on the site, and answer those comments rapidly.
Actually, Dell is a master at item 5. The company seems to be jumping on third-party blogs to join Dell-centric discussions. And Dell’s own IdeaStorm Web site includes healthy debate every day.