Dell aiming to make things simple in 2020

Vendor introduces simplified management structure, clearer rebate structures and improved online tools to support partner growth

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: MicroScope: MicroScope: Making life easier for the channel

Dell is putting the emphasis on the simplicity part of its partner programme mantra – “simple, predictable and profitable” – with the firm building on changes made towards the end of last year to remove complexity from its operations.

In mid-December 2019, the vendor revealed Bill Scannell would be taking charge of a combined sales organisation that unified enterprise and commercial under one leadership structure.

Scannell spoke at the Dell partner kick-off event about his plans for this year in running the global unified sales and partner organisation, and assured the channel that it was looking to make life easier in 2020.

“There’s an expression, ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it’. The channel organisation in our business is going extremely well, so the last thing I’m going to do is come in here and try to change the world. What I say is that the partner should come to expect simplicity in our model, and consistency,” he said.

“If you think about the changes we announced last quarter, it was really around our go-to-market. So if you think of how Dell was organised a little over three years ago, when Dell and EMC and VMware came together, we had two segments – an enterprise segment and a commercial segment. And then if you think about it by theatre, we had five different theatres around the world. So if I’m a channel partner, I have to deal with different country managers, different theatre managers, different segment managers, in each of those regions.”

Scannell added that now it was all under unified leadership.

“The channel organisation in our business is going extremely well, so the last thing I’m going to do is come in here and try to change the world. What I say is that the partner should come to expect simplicity in our model, and consistency”
Bill Scannell, Dell

“We’ll keep making improvements to the programme on how we interact with you, day in and day out – we will be simpler to deal with and eliminate the complexity. Those who are most committed to and most focused on Dell Technology are the ones that are most rewarded,” said Scannell.

Joyce Mullen, president of global channel, embedded and edge solutions at Dell, said the benefits for the partner would be greater clarity, and for the wider ecosystem it would help speed up decisions and sales, and support the ambition to take share and grow quicker than the market.

“I think it’s going to make us faster and more responsive,” she said. “We’re going to be able to make decisions in one place and cascade them down the organisation without kind of negotiating that through different organisations. I think our partners are going to love it.”

Decent progress

Mullen used the kick-off event to thank partners for the performance they turned in last year, with the indirect business continuing to grow.

“I’d like to kick things off with a huge thank you for the $52bn in orders that you brought in over the past year. That’s incredible and there is so much more we’re going to do together in the roaring 20s – our opportunity is enormous, our momentum is strong, and our partnerships are more solid than ever,” she said.

“I’d like to kick things off with a huge thank you for the $52bn in orders that you brought in over the past year. That’s incredible, and there is so much more we’re going to do together in the roaring 20s – our opportunity is enormous, our momentum is strong, and our partnerships are more solid than ever”
Joyce Mullen, Dell

“While we can’t talk about fourth-quarter results yet, I can say that you delivered solid performance through the third quarter, with 8% order revenue growth, 9% distribution growth, 11% storage growth, 7% server growth and over 52,000 new and reactivated customers. Talk about outpacing the market,” she added.

Mullen said this was going to be the decade where customers really started to appreciate their data, and its partners had a key role to play in supporting those user ambitions.

“We know that this is the decade of data, the decade of 5G, multicloud, artificial intelligence and, I would argue, the decade of Dell Technologies. In this decade, our customers will learn how to put their data to work. They will make their processes even more efficient, create safer and more environmentally friendly factories, improve their customers’ experiences, protect privacy even more diligently, and they will unlock the power of their data in ways we never imagined,” she said.

“But they can’t do this alone, given the complexity. Customers need partners to help them build the foundation. They need partners who are technically proficient, who understand their businesses and what they’re trying to accomplish. They trust partners who have their back, and partners who can offer the world’s best solutions to deliver the results they’re looking for. Together we’re doing this,” Mullen added.

Server push

Darren Sullivan, senior vice-president of global partner strategy programmes and operations at Dell, added some more details to how things would work in fiscal 2020 for the channel.

He indicated that the vendor would be building on some of the schemes it has been running to incentivise partners around selling storage products and the rewards would be there for those that landed fresh customers.

“We’re investing in new business acquisition with you, expanding our partner preferred programme by adding new target customers for server acquisition, to the existing storage accounts. We’ve seen great momentum with this programme, driven by the collaboration of Dell Technologies core sales and you, our partners,” said Sullivan.

“We’ve made it more profitable to pursue these accounts. In addition to your normal back-end rebate, we also provide incremental discounting on the front end,” he added.

Dell is also continuing its new business incentives and is carrying on with its competitive swap programme for storage, where a reseller displaces a competitive product.

“Bottom line – focus on the right new business targets and you’ll maximise your profitability, both through increased upfront discounts and back-end rebates and the Dell Technologies partner programme,” he said.

Some of the other changes designed to improve simplicity include the removal of global targets that trigger rebates, with smaller countries getting the chance to work with more sympathetic levels.

“For partners operating in smaller countries in EMEA [Europe, the Middle East and Africa], Latin America and Asia-Pacific, we’re introducing five global programme zones to help make tier revenue requirements more realistic and attainable,” said Sullivan.

Plus, the overall rebate structure is getting a makeover to reduce complexity, with product rebates moving from being based on seven lines of business to just three – client, server and storage.

Investments made online should also start to pay off this year, with Dell expecting the quoting tools to help speed up the sales process.

“One of the biggest projects is the delivery of an integrated quoting platform. Our solutions configurator platform will accelerate our journey to provide you with integrated quoting for our storage server and networking portfolio,” said Sullivan.

“This continued focus on driving automation in our deal registration process, expansion of our storage product availability in the integrated platform, and improved collaboration capabilities will streamline your online experience, enable you to self-serve more often and accelerate the time to get a winning price to your customers.”

EMEA impact

The message from Anwar Dahab, senior vice-president for Dell’s EMEA channel, was that the immediate impact of the simplified structure would see Sarah Shields, familiar to many UK partners because of her time running the channel here, move into a central and northern Europe region role, which includes Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

There is also a newly formed western region, covering Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, which is to be headed up by Alexandre Brousse.

The rest of the country channel chiefs stay the same, with Rob Tomlin building on his first year at the helm in the UK.

“With a simple, predictable, profitable partner programme that helps grow your business, along with the breadth of our industry-leading portfolio, Dell Technologies is the partner to bet on. We have the right strategy and the right partners to win”
Darren Sullivan, Dell

Dahab said the message for EMEA partners was to firstly sell more of the vendor’s portfolio. “Partners who sell multiples line of business with us make more profit with us,” he said.

But he also advised partners to get involved with multicloud to meet growing interest and demand from customers, and to talk more to their account managers to make sure they were clear about how they could unlock benefits from working with Dell.

“Understand your path to profitability, understand how to maximise our programme. In terms of profit opportunity for you, our partners, but also how to leverage all of our sources to win,” he said.

The overall pitch coming from the vendor’s channel 2020 kick-off was that it had taken steps to ensure it remained an attractive partner. The simplified management structure, investments in online quoting tools, and clearer and fairer rebates were designed to keep and attract partners.

“With a simple, predictable, profitable partner programme that helps grow your business, along with the breadth of our industry-leading portfolio, Dell Technologies is the partner to bet on. We have the right strategy and the right partners to win,” concluded Sullivan.

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