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Dell Technologies has enjoyed a year trading since it incorporated EMC and it has also been just slightly longer than 12 months since the partner programme was introduced.
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That unified scheme, covering Dell and EMC channels, came in with the promise of being 'simple, predictable and profitable'.
Not only has the vendor demonstrated to its top partners through rebates that it meant it on the profitability front but Michael Dell has made its programme a competitive tool to support his aim of becoming the biggest firm in the channel.
Given the recent comments by Joyce Mullen, president global channels, OEM and IoT solutions at Dell EMC, which shared the ambition that the vendor wanted to take the channel business to $50bn from the current $43bn worldwide the UK and European management is focused on growth.
Michael Collins, senior vp - channels, EMEA, at Dell EMC, said that it had come out of its first full year of operation as Dell EMC and its recent results indicated that it was paying down billions in debts and growing its cash and assets.
"It has been an extremely successful year overall. When you click down into that and look at how the channel is doing its a $43bn channel business out of $80bn with Dell Technologies," he added "If you take that one step further down into the channel in EMEA we added not far off $1bn onto our revenue. That number gives a feel for the performance for the year."
"When you look at the size of that business and the size of that growth you can imagine we are thrilled with the full year performance and secondly it was a share taking year in terms of the overall market," said Collins.
One of the key themes from the vendor over the course of the first year of trading with the full EMC portfolio available to the channel has been to encourage greater storage sales.
Storage and servers
Collins said that it had learnt a lot about its approach in that market and had rolled out programmes, products and incentives in mid-range and it had "seen the impact if you look at our fourth quarter performance".
He said that it had enhanced the message, product portfolio and had wrapped around that a customer loyalty programme that helped with migration.
"If you look at the way we ended the year, growing really strongly year-over-year so we have a lot of confidence in the momentum in the business and we think it’s because of those changes we implemented and those initiatives that we put in place," he said.
But he said there was a long way to go and there were still plenty of opportunities for partners to get involved with storage.
"We have a need to continuously communicate the message and communicate to our partners what is available in terms of the overall value proposition to them when they are 'all-in' doing things that the programme rewards and things that we have wrapped around our technology," he said.
Those partners that have worked with the programme and have in particular gone after new business have seen the rewards.
"We said we would have a programme that is simple, predictable and profitable and on the profitable piece I would be surprised if you spoke to any partner that said the programme was not as profitable as it was a year ago or the most profitable in the industry. Our top 100 partners for the first three quarters of the year earned not far off twice as much rebate as they earned a year ago. So it doesn't become a little bit more profitable but extremely profitable for those partners that are growing, going after new business and attaching services," he said.
Turning to the data centre and server business Collins said that the firm benefited from the 'portfolio effect' being able to help customers and resellers consolidate around a single supplier.
"You can see the impact on our server business when you look at the marketplace and you look at Dell's share gain," he said "Our x86 business has been off the charts."
"Partners and customers want to deal with fewer suppliers and when you have the best technology it becomes a bit easier to become that supplier," he added.
Closer to home
Drilling down further into the UK, Sarah Shields, UK and Ireland channel boss at Dell, said that it had been a strong year and customers were investing in technology.
"We have had four quarters of success, which means hitting the financial plan and delivering growth. That growth has been across multiple areas of the business, so we have seen growth in client, servers and the list goes on," she said.
"From a storage perspective I have been pretty vocal saying that we won't lose on midrange storage and we have been maintaining that. We have seen a strong take-up of our future proof storage plan and we have a programme that gives partners a fantastic opportunity to sell mid-range storage and are offering guarantees that no one else is matching," she added.
Providing three year guarantees on storage products and a programme that provides the channel with incentives and support has delivered in Q4 and that momentum is expected to continue into Q1.
Picking up on the comments from Collins about profitability Shields said that in the UK there were some partners earning five times more rebate than they did before the new programme.
"Those are the partners doing exactly what we want to achieve with the programme, reaching white space we are not reaching," she said.
Other UK plans for this year include increasing the support for the gold and platinum partners with more coverage for the authorised partner space as well as putting an emphasis on services.
"There is an absolute focus around services and we really want to work with partners that want to engage with us on services. How do we get the best experience for our customers? By tying some industry leading services from point of need to professional consulting," she said.
"Everyone is talking about digital transformation but how do you make that a reality? You make it a reality when you can talk about everything you need from the edge to the core, the cloud, data centre, people and application perspective," she added.