Laurent - stock.adobe.com
If last year was largely about discussing generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), then many in the channel hope 2024 will see those plans put into action with customer spending.
What should help is not just the emergence of more use cases, and encouraging reports of how the technology improved efficiencies and served up business insights, but also the emergence of more structured vendor support.
Dell Technologies has provided the latest example of what can happen with vendors using certifications to promote more skills around GenAI. Microsoft has taken a similar approach in the past as the industry giants look to encourage wider adoption of the technology.
The firm has cut the ribbon on an enhanced partner programme for 2024, with a fresh Data Science and AI competency on offer.
The competency will recognise those partners that make the effort to get to grips with the technology, and there are more rewards on offer for those that then combine it with other areas, such as the fresh edge offering and multi-cloud.
Alexandre Brousse, leader of channel sales for EMEA at Dell Technologies, said the hope was that by providing the competency, a greater number of its partners would embrace GenAI. “Every time we have a discussion with the partners about GenAI, the feedback is, ‘I know all the customers are talking about it, but honestly, I don’t know exactly how to start,’” he said.
Defining a strategy
Brousse said partners had to help customers define their AI strategy and work out where they wanted it to play a role – and what the repercussions were across the business.
“When you look at GenAI right now, we can say that last year was more some sort of proof of concept, and this year, it’s really proof of productivity that when AI will be practical for the customers,” he added. “We want all partners to lean into it. We want our partners to invest in the technology, but also to bring their own services capabilities, their expertise, and that’s the reason why we created these new competencies.”
Brousse also said the enhancements to the partner programme had been produced with feedback from partners, and that the timing was right to introduce an AI competency.
“The market is changing right now,” he said. “At Dell, we want to share a framework to our partners to help them to navigate this GenAI agenda for customers. GenAI will be a massive change in the coming years, starting with this year, when we will see more use cases; we’ll see much more practicality of GenAI and our partners will lean into it.”
Dell has been among the most vocal vendors talking up the prospects of GenAI in the channel. In the past 18 months, the firm has cut the ribbon on a number of solutions, including the Project Helix announcement made last May. The supplier is keen to make it easier for customers to adopt full-stack GenAI with large language models.