DELL Solutions Conference (channel summit)

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A big part of my new job as Solutions Team Lead is
‘Vendor Management’. Therefore I could not mis the invite from DELL to join
them at the EMEA Summit for their Preferred and Premier Partners (@ Barcelona). As a fact I
can proudly announce that FERRANTI (my employer if you didn’t knew yet) is the
first channel partner for Belgium that received the status of Premier Partner
Back to the summit … What is the main reason Dell
invites us here? Well the intention is to ‘listen’. It is something you hear a
lot from DELL and they do a great job at it. Here are some of my notes of what we heared.
Introduction keynote:
A few years ago DELL was a direct selling company. So
what happened since they started the channel program. As it turns out 28% of
commercial revenue already comes through the channel partners. Thats almost a
third! Another number is growth: DELL has doubled their revenue (in EMEA) in
the last 4 years and half of that growth came through the channel partners.
What to expect? Double this total again in 2 years and x5 in 5 years.
So how are they planning to do this with the channel?
Dell wants to focus on the co-selling between direct and channel program (nice
to hear that being confirmed
) and will provide us with multiple new tools to
get that accomplished. There is much more than this but not really for a public
blog πŸ˜‰
Q: what is the strategy for direct sales now that DELL
shifts a part of the focus to channel sales?
A: we should not look at direct sales as a threat. On one
hand DELL just does not have all in place from a services point of view where
you as channel provide much more benefit for the customer. On the other hand it
is an advantage for the channel partner to work do co-selling. (important side-note: commission for direct sales does not change if the deal goes to a channel partner!)
Q: if channel already has a 28% share on revenue, whats
the limit here for DELL?
A: We are on our way to a 50/50 balance in the next few
years but from DELL’s point of view there is no ceiling.
Q: where does DELL see the social media as a marketing
A: actually we just started using it just to get more
information faster and directly to end-users than going through the traditional marketing stack.
Q: why isn’t DELL positioning the channel program more to
the market (for example on front page of website)?
A: DELL has done some efforts lately on doing big events
together with the channel such as Storage Forum or DELLworld and future
enhancements are there to come.
Growing your business with DELL:
If we look at IT budgets we notice that customers spend
to much money on IT and of that money to much is lost in ‘keeping the lights
on’. We should change our way of thinking from; “give us your mess, we’ll
deal with it” to;
   – get rid of
avoidable mess
   – what you
cannot avoid > automate
   – what you
cannot automate > get it in the cloud against a decent SLA
Q: (from Poland) is DELL planning to go direct in
countries it is not active now?
A: NO. We have a decent channel program in place that works
Q: DELL is growing with its own datacentre solutions? What
will this mean in services?
A: We will need people to handle the datacentre services,
but “people” will never be a product.
Q: what is your point of view on the HP PSG story?
A: as there is no official story yet we can only confirm
that DELL will continue to invest in the FULL range of technologies.
Q: what will DELL do on services for new acquired
A: actually the same answer as on the first question. We
can state that: if we do something direct where we shouldn’t have, it’s a
screw-up, not a conspiracy. (#lol)
Impact of trends in IT – by Clive Longbottom (independent
IT analyst) – @clivel_98
Im not going through the entire session of him as Clive
is not really a DELL speaker. The topic of this talk was … drumroll … the
(again, yes). There are a few key point I’ll shortly address:
A big question of integrators is if the public cloud will
be the only channel in a few years. No it will not. There will always be a need
for local integrators to handle migrations and links between private, shared
and public clouds (the hybrid cloud). So what is going to change? The way we
purchase and sell everything. Sales commissioning for example is not going to
be one time deals anymore with some licenses and maintenance but that will
evolve in long term partnerships and more deals that are spread over 3 or more
At the end of his session there was also some time for
Q&A. Please let me express upfront that these are his personal opinions as
an ‘independent’ speaker!
Q: as an independent analyst, what can you say about HP
as a company?
A: when Mark Hurd came along he actually did a better job
then I expected him to do. But Leo Apotheker was a software guy in a systems
environment and that just didn’t work. In fact if you look at the last 7 CEO’s
HP had there was not one transition that held some strategy behind it. Losing
Apotheker is not enough, they should have let go the entire board…
Q: so what do you think about DELL then?
A: if you would have asked me this a few years ago I might
have answered the same thing. DELL was a cheap product selling company that was
disruptive and undercut the market and I didn’t like that. With a changing
market DELL has grown out of that spot and focusses on solutions rather than
products especially with all the acquisitions of the last few years. I am
impressed how DELL plays its professional services.
The closing speaker was a pretty technical (product)
session of Intel. I do understand that sponsors deserve a spot on an
event but this session was not really what i was expecting today.

After a good night sleep (ahum ahum) I was one of the 25% that came out of their room the fist few hours πŸ™‚  However they did not really miss a lot those first sessions. DELL put 5 ‘canons’ on stage, each in their territory with each definitely have something to say. The only problem is that the way they told it was like a “political pre-organised panel show”. All questions and answers were prepared. I could have gotten the same information through an email, websites or twitter. Ow right … I allready did.
We welcome a well deserved coffee break (coffee on the table in the first sessions would have been a blessing) and go into separate sessions per country. The meeting is led by our Belgian Channel director. After getting used to being with your biggest competitors on the same side of the table, looking at how to do better together we had some very good conversations. These are some of the ideas (I wont give them all away off course πŸ™‚

* we should do more vendor/channel marketing throughout the year
* we should be ready together whenever new solutions/products are launched
* we shouldn’t sell ‘iron’ but solutions
* we need more ‘vertical’ solutions from DELL (products within a solutions, ex. vStart)



DELL comes a long way as a direct selling company for us who are used to work with vendors but they do a great effort. Especially for those people who have never seen channel there is no better way to end my blog than with a quote I got from one of my ‘competitors’

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