According to Greg Davis, Dell’s Americas channel chief, the former direct vendor just passed 10,000 partners in the U.S. and 1,000 in Canada.
Davis was attending the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, held here, to learn more about the software giant’s influencer channel program. Davis says he’s thinking about implementing the same type of program for Dell partners, along with vertical partner programs for healthcare and the federal government. Davis added the channel team at Dell is looking at developing an ISV and SMB specializations as well.
However, those potential programs are still down the road for Dell. The company’s current channel focus is on continuing to build the certification programs announced last December. The managed services and enterprise architecture programs have fewer than 500 partners. “Not bad so far, and some are now trained and are actively working with us to sell our enterprise server and storage products,” Davis said.
Dell’s Web portal is critical to the company’s channel recruitment efforts in the certified space, but Davis admitted that it not where the he wants it to be. “Every month we add new content and new training material… and we are working to expand that. We’ll continue to make more investments for a better Web experience so that we can make it easier for partners,” Davis said.
Dell is only nine months into its channel plan but still needs to globalize the program even though the program has been rolled out internationally. Davis also says he needs to double the number of global partners and grow the certification programs by another two before the end of the year.
“I hope to grow the channel business at a faster rate than the direct business. We’re doing the right things to win business direct and we want to do the same in the channel. We have a small share, but if we do things right we can do it faster than our core,” Davis said.
The current run rate for Dell in the channel is a little over 20 per cent, at U$12 billion.
Davis pinpointed two obstacles for his channel team. The first is the channel asking Dell to move quicker. Davis said that only nine months have past since the company entered the channel officially, and that it’s not possible to collect all the data from partner feedback and deliver on partner requests this quickly. “We pick the most valuable items. This is not a game of ‘we have built it and it is over,’ but a constant process,” he said.
The second obstacle is the continuing communication of Dell’s different channel model. “Our focus is on lowering the cost of doing business in the channel. That is what makes us different than those other channel models of the past, which were based on rebates and sales incentives. When you purchase from Dell you buy customer configured products loaded with software, instead of off the shelf products,” he said.
Davis says since he has added the Canadian channel chief role to his job, he is a lot closer than before even though it was always part of his responsibility.