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Dell adds software VP to its channel exec roster

Pete Koliopoulos, is a well-seasoned IT executive with more than 30 years of experience in marketing, sales and channel programs who recently — March according to his LinkedIn profile — took the reins as vice president of global software channels and alliances at Dell Systems and Information Management (SIM) Group. In this new role at Dell, Koliopoulos works as a peer to Cheryl Cook, vice president of global channels and alliances at Dell since November 2013.

With the announcement of Dell’s acquisition of EMC in October 2015, the question is: how many chief cooks — yes, pun intended — and bottle washers does the vendor need? (On another interesting note, Koliopoulos has a work history that includes stints at Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions, VCE Corp. and EMC).

Here at EMC Global Partner Summit 2016/EMC World 2016, there isn’t a partner in the house who isn’t wondering what role the channel will play in the new Dell Technologies — the name the merged company will have after the acquisition is finalized. Specificity is scarce.

So why the Koliopoulos appointment and should partners care?

According to Dell, Koliopoulos will be responsible for the strategy and execution of the Dell SIM “Channel Partner First” approach that gives partners end-to-end solutions to open the door to new business opportunities with existing customers and new customers.

He will build a worldwide partner program with the goal of going deeper with existing partners rather than seek out new partners. “I look to expand partner revenue through services and renewals as well as give partners a deeper dive look on SIM solution areas so they understand the growth opportunity,” Koliopoulos said in an emailed statement.

SIM is a recently reorganized group at Dell. Dell Software Group (DSG) was started in 2012 when the company decided to bring multiple acquisitions together in a single business. In November 2015, the vendor transformed DSG around three technology domains — Security, Information Management, and Systems Management — in an effort to change the way it designs, markets and sells products. This led them to an organization encompassing four business units: Systems and Information Management (SIM), Security Solutions, Boomi and StatSoft.

Koliopoulous reports to Tom Joyce, general manager, system and information management software. Joyce, who while in his prior role for 11 months as senior vice president of global corporate development at HP with responsibility for mergers and acquisitions, jumped ship to Dell prior to the HP split. Joyce worked at HP since 2009.

Also on Koliopoulous’ team are Jeff McCullough, Americas, Chris Miller, EMEA and Mary Woo, AJP.

When asked about the timing of Koliopoulous’ appointment and Dell’s SIM strategy just ahead of the Dell-EMC merger, the company said the following:

With the right thoughtfulness and leadership this combination of heavily seasoned professionals can continue to build a truly unique and powerful channel ecosystem. One that can drive differentiation in the market and gain significant market share from the wide array of competitors.

So back to wondering about Dell’s strategy to bring on another top channel executive. It’s public knowledge that Dell plans to sell a number of the company’s assets to both raise money for the EMC acquisition and rid itself of non-core assets, i.e. Dell IT Services, formerly Perot Systems, as well as SonicWall and Quest. Is SIM on the chopping block too? An unnamed source suggested that in all likelihood Dell intends to sell SIM.

One thing is sure going forward: In 2017, partners of Dell Technologies can expect to see a single, unified partner program, according to Gregg Ambulos, senior vice president of global channel sales at EMC. What we don’t know is when the two separate channel programs come together, who is going to run it? That’s the next shoe to drop.

It’s no wonder that channel partners of both Dell and EMC are on the edge of their seats.