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Dell Technologies partners thrive under updated program

Dell Technologies continues to report strong channel growth and highlight the cross-selling opportunities inherent in its portfolio.

Looking back at its fiscal year 2020 first quarter, which ended May 3, Dell painted a healthy picture of sustained momentum in partner sales. According to Cheryl Cook, senior vice president of global marketing at Dell, channel sales grew 15% year on year in the first quarter, while distribution rose by 10%. Partner sales of Dell’s client products increased 9% year on year, servers by 18% and storage by 26%. Cook noted that Dell’s reporting of storage sales included the performance of its converged infrastructure products such as VXrail. Dell Technologies partners brought in 15,000 new customers in the first quarter.

“We think the strategy and the breadth of the portfolio are helping us be in a good position to win,” Cook said.

A focus on cross-selling

Since the early days of Dell’s merger with EMC, the company has relied on the breadth of its portfolio as a crucial differentiator in the market. The cross-selling potential of the portfolio was a theme at this year’s Dell Technologies World conference, which ran in conjunction its Global Partner Summit, from April 28 to May 2 in Las Vegas.

At the event, the vendor unveiled the Dell Technologies Partner Program, promising greater ease in engaging VMware, Pivotal, SecureWorks and other business units under the Dell Technologies umbrella. The program simplified partners’ tier requirements by counting sales revenue from Dell Technologies subsidiaries toward tier credits. Dell also consolidated its partner training and certification requirements.

Scott Winslow, president and founder of Winslow Technology Group, an IT solutions and consulting firm headquartered in Waltham, Mass., said the new partner program made several improvements to the Dell EMC Partner Program it replaced. He added that the vendor is doing more to enable cross-selling.

“I think the big change for us, and we see it as a positive, is doing more about getting [Dell’s] strategically aligned businesses working together,” Winslow said.

Winslow Technology Group has ramped up its cross-selling engagements as Dell builds tighter integrations between its business units. “We were doing some VMware business [before], but now we are doing a lot more VMware business,” Winslow said. The company is also doing more business with SecureWorks, Dell’s managed security services company.

“We see [Dell Technologies subsidiaries] sales teams working together a lot more closely than they have been in the past. … I would say we are doing more cross-selling, more collaboration … and coming up with solutions for customers that are more comprehensive,” he said.

More work to be done

Even as Dell takes bold steps to unify its various business units for partners, the company recognizes more work is needed. Cook said the vendor continues to focus on creating a simpler operating experience.

At the 2019 Global Partner Summit, Dell senior vice president of global partner strategy, programs and operations, Darren Sullivan, highlighted ways in which the vendor is streamlining channel businesses processes. Initiatives included new investments in automation as well as more integration between Dell’s business lines.

Winslow said he is optimistic that the vendor is moving in the right direction. He acknowledged that complexity remains.

“The nirvana would be one partner portal, one deal [registration] page, one partner program for all” Dell Technologies subsidiaries, Winslow said. “They’re not there yet, but they are taking steps toward unifying these … disparate strategically aligned businesses to be more ‘the power of one.’ “

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