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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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News & Articles

September 22, 2020 |

Dell Reports Flat Six Months But “Good Solid Momentum” for Future

The tech giant’s sales climbed at the start of its current fiscal year and dipped more recently, resulting in essentially unchanged results for the last six months. Vertical industry solutions and work-from-home upgrades are among bright spots for what’s next.

A spike in activity that then leveled off, followed by the beginnings of a new normal in which revenue, while nothing to crow about, isn’t nearly as bad as once feared.

It’s a sequence of events that describes 2020 so far for a lot channel pros, and for Dell Technologies as well. In the first quarter of its current fiscal year, which began in February just as COVID-19 was making its presence felt in the U.S., the sudden pivot to remote work produced a 12% year-over-year jump in sales through the channel of PCs, monitors, and other client products for the industry giant. In Q2, on the other hand, with immediate work-from-home hardware requirements mostly satisfied, Dell’s channel-related revenue from client solutions, plus infrastructure, dropped 6%. 

The net result? “We’re flat essentially for the half, which I think we’ll take as a bit of a positive given the uncertainty we’re all navigating through,” says Cheryl Cook, Dell’s senior vice president of global channel marketing.

There’s evidence of “good solid momentum” in the picture too, she adds. At a time when face-to-face sales meetings are rare, for example, Dell partners still managed to land nearly 16,000 net new customers in Q2 and more than 31,000 in the first two quarters combined.

In addition, sales have been strong in select verticals such as education, where continued reliance on remote learning technology has K-12 schools, colleges, and universities all investing not only in endpoints but supporting backend systems as well. “It’s not just the devices and ensuring that everybody has access, it’s the network capability and the security capability,” Cook says.

Businesses in other verticals are slowly spending more freely as well, she continues, both on data center gear to keep remote connections strong and safe and on newer, more appropriate gear for employees likely to be based at home at least part-time for the foreseeable future.

“As workers settle in at home, a laptop may not be the perfect device for every situation, depending on the nature of the work that they’re doing,” Cook observes, adding that desktop and workstation sales are showing signs of life as a result.

Partners have more Dell products to offer customers too. “We’ve still been really keeping our foot on the gas in the way of innovation and new product launches,” Cook says. “In the latter half of Q1 and Q2, we launched 10 new products in 10 weeks.”

Those included a wave of Latitude notebooks, OptiPlex desktops, and Precision workstations unveiled in May, new systems from Dell EMC and VMware for powering artificial intelligence solutions, and new Dell EMC PowerStore and PowerScale storage platforms.

According to Cook, partner interest in those and other products has led to steady enrollment in online training courses. “In Q2, we saw over 40,600 credentials delivered to over 2,600 partner companies,” she says.

Dell is seeing increased use of its various financing programs too. Channel-led originations through Dell Financial Services rose 22% in the first half of the fiscal year, and 40% in Q2 alone. At first, Cook says, much of that activity involved customers with liquidity concerns taking advantage of the $9 billion in financing assistance, including short-term 0% interest loans, that Dell made available. More recently, however, heightened demand for consumption-based purchasing options, like the Dell Technologies on Demand program introduced last fall, has been the principal driver. Partners who utilize financing, according to Dell, grow twice as fast on average as partners who don’t.

Other leading hardware vendors, including HP, which introduced a new subscription-based purchasing plan tailored to SMBs last week, have reported mounting interest in as-a-service offerings among commercial buyers as well.

With markets still unsettled and likely to remain so for some time, Dell plans to stress consistency with previously announced plans for its partner program in the next six months. “I don’t envision really any meaningful changes in the second half,” Cook says. “We feel we’ve got the right strategy.”

That’s consistent with the message the company articulated back in February, when incoming global sales chief Bill Scannell promised continuity with earlier efforts aimed at making Dell an easy, predictable, and profitable vendor to work with. Scannell, formerly president of enterprise sales and customer operations and now in charge of worldwide commercial and partner sales as well, stepped into that role following the departure of Dell President and Chief Commercial Officer Marius Haas. 

There have been further changes atop Dell’s org chart since then. In July, channel chief Joyce Mullen announced her departure after 21 years with the company. That news came just weeks before word that Paul Shaffer, vice president of sales for global commercial channels at Dell EMC and also a 21-year Dell veteran, would be leaving as well.

Mullen’s successor, who officially started work this month, is Rola Dagher, a former executive in Dell’s enterprise business who has returned to the company after three years as president of Cisco Systems Canada.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to have her back,” says Cook, adding that partners needn’t fear that new channel leadership will mean radical new directions for the channel program any time soon. 

“I don’t think you should expect wholesale change,” she says.

On the other hand, Dell did reveal, on the same day it announced Dagher’s hiring, that responsibility for channel sales now resides with John Byrne and Aongus Hegerty, who oversee North American and international sales, respectively.

“We’re always looking for ways of simplifying our sales engagement, and if anything it should help us have faster decision-making [and] certainly faster escalations for problem resolution,” Cook says. Closer, more effective coordination between direct and channel sales efforts should also result from the new arrangement, she adds.

Dell will outline future plans for its partner program, according to Cook, at the Dell Technologies World Digital Experience scheduled to occur October 21st and 22nd.

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