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Dell PartnerDirect program unified to embrace software acquisitions

Dell PartnerDirect gets a makeover, with four new software competencies, a referral program for the software business and a Service Provider Program.

In an effort to solidify its partner program and make the Dell PartnerDirect program more cohesive around the multiple acquisitions that the company has made over the past several years, Dell Inc. today announced an enhanced PartnerDirect program, which includes four new software competencies, a Service Provider Program and more.

The rollout of the enhanced Dell Partner Direct program goes hand-in-hand with the transformation that got underway at Dell several years ago as the company expands from being a provider of PC, servers and hardware to an end-to-end solution provider of servers, networking and storage; services and cloud; end-user computing; and software.

Software is an integral part of Dell’s transformation strategy with the acquisition of five companies in particular -- Quest Software, SonicWall, Kace, AppAssure and Boomi -- fueling the charge to the tune of $1.2 billion in revenue and more than 1 million customers.

Delivering on an announcement that Dell made to partners back in April to converge its software competencies under PartnerDirect, the vendor is today making available four new software competency specialization tracks: Security, Systems Management, Information Management and Data Protection.

“We want to have a single partner program that makes it easy for our partners to understand and engage with Dell,” said Bob Skelley, global director for certified partner program and channels at Dell.

Now that the Dell PartnerDirect program structure includes software, the vendor’s 140,000 registered partners may want to rethink how and where to invest with Dell.

In the new PartnerDirect program structure, all partners enter the program as Registered partners. Preferred partners will have to achieve one or more competencies, meet revenue targets and a required headcount of four unique individuals – for example, two sales and two technical. Premier partner requirements include advanced competency of two or more competencies, an electives solutions course, revenue targets and a headcount of eight unique individuals.

The 4,300 current Dell Premier and Preferred partners will be grandfathered in to a comparable program level that covers their current competencies and rewards them for investments already made, according to Skelley.

The enhanced PartnerDirect is built on choice and flexibility, allowing partner businesses to decide how they want to grow their business and invest in Dell.

“We’re not forcing partners down any path. However, the best benefits come when a partner completes a competency and achieves a Preferred or Premier level within our program,” said Skelley.

Listening to the chorus of its acquired Quest partners, who had a very popular referral program, Dell’s enhanced PartnerDirect Program now includes a new referral program that rewards partners who influence customers to purchase Dell software.

According to Marvin Blough, executive director of worldwide channels and alliances with Dell’s software group, partners who are instrumental or the originator of an opportunity will be eligible for fees -- from 2% to as much as 20% -- depending on the level of participation as well as the program level.

The new referral program only applies to the software business. “We’ll look at the rest of the product lines and where it makes sense and also where it makes sense for partners over the next few quarters,” he said.

For the first time, Dell PartnerDirect now includes a Service Provider Program. The worldwide program is an extension of a service provider program that Quest had in place for the past four years and includes 2,000 service providers who already leverage Dell software solutions.

“Service providers are a new channel for us and enable our partners to leverage Dell’s capability to offer customers as-a-service offerings,” said Darren Swan, director of global sales and business development with the Dell Service Provider Program, who noted that Dell Software currently has more than 150 solutions available to service providers.

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