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Dell encouraging hardware channel to embrace software

As Dell looks to get more of its channel to sell across the portfolio one of the most obvious areas is to get those selling servers and storage to add software

The determination of Dell to encourage partners to sell more of its portfolio is clearly in evidence on the software side of the business, where the vendor feels its partners could be missing opportunities.

Over the past few years Dell has added a fair amount of functionality as a result of the acquisitions it has made in the security, data management and storage arenas but not all of its partners are taking those products to market, with some selling alternatives from competitors.

The challenge the vendor faces is trying to encourage those that do not sell software to get involved with the technology as well as inspiring the partners that offer alternatives from competitors to reconsider their choices.

One of the themes of the Dell EMEA solutions conference in Vienna this week was to talk about gaining more share of wallet from existing partners, encouraging them to sell more of the products that the vendor can offer, and that was echoed by senior channel management working on the software side of the business.

“The software portfolio goes from things like SonicWall, which has SME appliances to the enterprise base and is appliance based, to identity management products, Windows migration products to data protection products from AppAsure to developer products from some of the Quest stuff so the portfolio is really wide,” said Martin Blough, executive director, worldwide channels and alliances at Dell.

“The challenge now is to say if you are a partner you have a Dell account manager who owns your whole relationship with Dell. In support of that we have channel specialists, like security channel specialists who work in conjunction with the account manager. But what we are trying to do is say that when you sit down and look at your relationship with Dell you need to just talk to one person,” he added.

He said that making it easier for partners to get a holistic view of their activity with the vendor had made it easier to encourage them to diversify their product range and add more software.

“The goal is not to go out and recruit 20,000 more partners the plan is to look at the partners we have in place and make it so we can grow with them,” he said.

On the security front the feeling from Blough was that it had plenty of partners because of the demand from customers for help fending off cyber threats, but there was more work to be done on the data protection side of the business.

“Who are the right partners to recruit for the data protection products? And Dell partner that is selling servers and storage is the ones that we should be recruiting. So it is not about adding more partners to PartnerDirect but it is about getting existing Dell partners to increase their business by picking up more of the product line. Dell is not necessarily recruiting partners but in software we are recruiting Dell partners,” he said.

“If you went out to your typical Dell partner that is selling server and storage most of them are probably selling a data protection product, it just might not be Dell’s. Once someone knows a product and they are trained on it that is the product they tend to continue selling so we are going in putting incentives in place to make sure the products are very profitable and we have the training in place to get the reseller’s staff up to speed,” he added.

Laurent Binetti , vice president & general manager of Emea Channel at Dell, said the last year had seen it gaining its footprint in the large VARs like Computacenter and Kelway and reaching more of the SME market as a result of increasing its distribution network but there was more work to be done on getting more involvement with its existing channel.

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