IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Dell Software Polishes Its Channel Program

To better integrate the companies it has acquired, Dell has invested in training, a new website, enablement packages, and more to get resellers up to speed quickly and extend their reach. By James E. Gaskin

Dell has spent around $10 billion over the past decade acquiring some high-profile companies, including SonicWall, Quest Software, Wyse Technology, AppAssure, and RNA Networks. From 2002 to the present, 26 companies have been purchased, not counting the acquisitions made by Quest before being acquired itself. Now the Round Rock, Texas-based company must integrate those products and their sales organizations, and introduce software to what has been a hardware company. Joanne Moretti, vice president and global head of software marketing for Dell Software, says this process is under way.

"Software is the new kid on the block," says Moretti. "But it's not that little anymore, with about $7 billion in revenues and over 6,000 people, including over 1,500 software engineers. We have more than a million software customers."

This doesn't stop critics who point to Dell's stock price tumbles as evidence the integration has yet to help the bottom line. But, as Moretti points out, the integration of the partner organizations now gets plenty of attention.

"We're folding 50,000 software partners into the full channel, and there's a special training team focused just on software training," says Moretti. "We've done 26 road shows the last two months with training. Every reseller has access to all of Dell's inside information. And we're rolling out 40 different training modules on software, both basic and advanced."

Products Reorganized
Part of the process is a reorganization of product lines into one of four areas, called TCIP for Transform, Connect, Inform, and Protect. Transform includes data center and cloud products such as servers and storage and the software to manage them; Inform encompasses the application and data integration areas, including database management; Connect controls desktop virtualization, mobile device management, and mobile security; and Protect includes endpoint and network security, data protection, backup, and email.

The Dell Sales University works with channel partners, and now has the mandate to change the company's go-to-market strategy. Where once Dell was justly accused of being more reactive and focusing on order-taking, the new goal is to be more proactive and consultative. While these buzzwords may be old and clichéd, the plan is to improve Dell resellers' reach as well as the customer experience.

One program that will roll out in the next three months is "Business in a Box," says Moretti. "This will help get a partner up and running quickly. There are a lot of region-specific details, accounts, customer decks for presentations, battle cards, and enablement packages to build business." Still in development, this information will be provided to internal Dell account executives as well to help teach them the software business.

A new website, software.dell.com, includes information, training videos, and software for download and trial. There are about 15 freeware packages to download as well, including Object Restore for Active Directory and Domain Statistics Wizard.

New Focus Areas
Dell is shining a brighter light on mobility today. The company believes the BYOD market has changed and is tilting away from corporate-owned devices to those that are personally owned. Today, Moretti notes, about 37 percent of devices are personally owned, but that percentage will jump to about 63 percent in the next few years. That's why mobile workforce management has become an important area for Dell and its partner channel.

Others areas getting a higher profile with the reorganization include cloud services (Dell says 85 percent of businesses will use cloud tools moderately to extensively in the next three years), and security (79 percent of companies suffered financial or brand damage in the last year because of a security incident).

"We know we can't just buy companies, but have to integrate them into services with partners and our existing equipment," says Moretti. "We've set up a CTO office that is working on building out a reference architecture to identify the most important integration and services solutions."

A video overview of the new PartnerDirect program, featuring Bob Skelley, executive director, global certified partner program and channel, and Roy Appelbaum, director of channel sales, software, can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdiFQnrJ_M4.

ChannelPro SMB Magazine
SUBSCRIBE FREE!

Get an edge on the competition

With each issue packed full of powerful news, reviews, analysis, and advice targeting IT channel professionals, ChannelPro-SMB will help you cultivate your SMB customers and run your business more profitably.