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Dell cagey about channel details

01 Aug 09

After much speculation following its entry into the Australian indirect channel market nine months ago, Dell has  finally announced its plans for the New Zealand channel, (as reported on The Channel) but remains   coy about the details. The company entered the New Zealand indirect channel in early July, when it launched its  PartnerDirect Program and announced its intention to appoint a channel team in New Zealand, with   “ambitious growth for the channel in New Zealand” planned.

Rob Makin, who has over 15 years of experience in channels in the ICT sector, is heading up the PartnerDirect  Program for Australia and New Zealand, which was initiated globally two years ago. The Channel Strategy  Manager ANZ said Dell’s move into the indirect channel is “deadly serious”, adding that over $US12 billion  of the company’s global revenue last year came from the channel.

Makin was quick to stress: “This is something that’s not new for Dell. Although Dell has created a successful  company looking at the direct business, channel is something that is absolutely embedded into our fabric.”

For Makin the PartnerDirect program is a “more formalised” engagement with the channel than previously,  designed to be easy to engage with. Dell has already spent a lot of time talking to resellers and has identified  “quite a number of partners” in New Zealand. Although he would not reveal names or numbers at the time, he  did comment that the resellers Dell had approached had been “extremely embracing”.

When The Channel  asked if Dell anticipated any resistance to its plans from resellers, Makin commented: “Don’t forget this is an  evolution over a few years here, so this is extremely well thought out. Most of the resellers I’ve spoken to  realise that Dell is arguably needed for the channel at the moment. We are a tier one vendor in the WinTel  space – market leader in a lot of areas – we’ve got some great technology and outside of HP, our main  competitor, we are the only vendor that can offer a complete solution in the WinTel space.”

HP’s Warrick  Grey, PSG Commercial SMB Segment Marketing Manager, does not agree. He recently commented in a speech  at the Ingram Micro Showcase 2009: “I say good luck to them [Dell] because there are very, very few people here to support you.”

For those partners interested in the PartnerDirect Program, you can either be a Registered Partner or a Certified Partner. Makin cited Dell’s channel enablement plans, deal registration process and price support as selling  points of the newly released program. The company will be dealing with channel partners direct for now, with no plans to appoint a distributor.

Makin was unable to comment on what proportion of the company’s business the indirect model is likely to  take up, but he did say there will be “a focus on channel”. He said that those partners who have invested see  their revenues and profitability grow. He also could not comment on how many staff the New Zealand channel  team would comprise, but added that it will be segregated from the direct sales team, so that any channel leads  remain there. The direct sales team also gets the channel revenue for any products sold into its accounts by a  channel partner, to avoid infi ghting over customers.

“We’ve created a global program that’s fairly simple, focused on providing our channel partners the right tools,  with an overriding message that what we are doing is enabling our channel partners to sell Dell’s  technology and services and allow them to leverage our supply chain excellence [...]. All of this is something that we’ve been doing as a direct organisation, so what we want to do is quite simply give that ability to our  channel partners to resell to their customers,” explained Makin.