Dell rallies channel to ride digital transformation wave

At its Global Partners Summit at Dell Technologies World, the company is introducing a raft of new programs to help partners cross-sell its broad product portfolio

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Martyn Williams/IDG

Dell Technologies is rolling out a broad range of new programs to get its channel partners more invested in the company's long-term effort to be the only IT vendor with a full set of integrated products, from the PC to the data center, best-suited to help users modernize their computing infrastructure.

The new rewards, training and sales-enablement programs are being launched at the company's Global Partner Summit, kicking off today in conjunction with Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas. They are geared toward helping channel partners sell across Dell's many product lines, build converged infrastructure packages, and get up to speed on emerging technology like IoT.

When Dell acquired enterprise storage leader EMC (along with EMC subsidiaries including VMware, Pivotal and Virtustream) in 2016, it had already spent years trying to make the leap from PCs and small and medium-size businesses to a full set of components for large enterprises.

The idea is that EMC and its federation of related companies make Dell a stronger player in areas of increasing importance such as software-defined data centers, converged infrastructure, hybrid cloud, and security. As such, it can better compete with IBM, Cisco and HPE.

"We do think that one of our comparative advantages here is the breadth of our product portfolio across all the Dell Technology families and across Dell-EMC," said Joyce Mullen, president of Global Channel, OEM and IoT at Dell EMC. 

But to make the best of that portfolio for users struggling, for example, with digital transformation and hybrid cloud computing environments, it needs channel partners that are competent and comfortable handling its broad array of offerings.

It's especially key considering that the channel business generated $43 billion out of Dell Technologies' total net revenue of $78.7 billion in the fiscal year ending February.

"At Dell we talk a lot about these four transformations: digital transformation, IT transformation, workforce transformation and security transformation," said Mullen. "And so we’re really trying to figure out how to make it easier for our partners to work across the Dell Technologies brands."

Dell launches Technologies Advantage program

To make it easier for its partners to cross-sell, Dell is launching a Technologies Advantage program. While each Dell business will continue to have its own independent channel program, Technologies Advantage will offer rewards, certifications and incentives to encourage partners to work across brands, Mullen said. Essentially, Dell will make it more profitable for a partner to sell products together than when they do not, Mullen said.

From now on a product certification awarded by a Dell business to a partner will be recognized by other Dell businesses; training will not have to be repeated.

Companies that have attained Titanium Black  -- the highest-level channel status -- in the Dell EMC Partner Program will have that status and its rewards and incentives recognized across the Dell family of businesses. These partners will have access to  a concierge type of service that will give them fast access to assets and products across the Dell businesses. Dell will use this particular program as a sort of pilot, taking aspects of what they have learned to programs for other partners.

Dell EMC Ready Stack

Dell has also introduced a "Ready Stack" program to help partners build converged infrastructure technology packages including products from Dell EMC storage (such as Unity, SC Series, XtemIO, and Isilon), PowerEdge servers, data protection and open networking technologies. The program will supply partners with reference architecture and provide incentives to sell across the Dell portfolio.

To help resellers get up to speed on new technologies, Dell is rolling out new training programs, starting this week with an Internet of Things Solution Competency course. Additional training to be introduced this year will include courses on high performance computing, data analytics, business applications, and security.

To help channel partners drive more business, Dell is also rolling out:

--A new demo program that allows partners to use earned market development funds to buy storage, converged infrastructure, and data protection products at a discount.

--A proof of concept program that allows Titanium level partners to independently lead  proof of concept implementations at user facilities with no-cost hardware, software, support and shipping.

--An IT transformation campaign that delivers marketing content and industry analyst research to partners to help promote consultative selling of connected products.

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