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Dell direct not an issue for SonicWALL partners

14 Jun 12

The reaction of channel partners to Dell’s acquisition of SonicWALL in March hasn’t been stellar, with most concerned that Dell’s direct sales approach to enterprise customers will damage existing relationships, and competitors eager to capitalise on those doubts.

We caught up with regional director Richard Ting from Dell SonicWALL to discuss the issue, and he was at pains to explain that even though it’s now part of the Dell family, SonicWALL will continue to sell only through channel partners.

In fact, the decision has been made that Dell’s direct sales force will be recommending, but not selling, SonicWALL solutions. Because of the need for planning, configuration and ongoing support, enterprise customers will need to buy the SonicWALL products through a channel partner, even if they are buying Dell servers direct from the vendor.

Dell is taking a ‘Do no harm’ approach to SonicWALL’s successful business model, with partner programmes and margins remaining the same. In addition, channel partners already selling Dell products through the PartnerDirect programme will soon have access to SonicWALL solutions, which at least on paper immediately doubles the SonicWALL partners in NZ.

Read our story here about Dell’s house brand strategy to understand why Dell acquired the security vendor.

The key message for channel partners, according to Ting, is the extra resources and opportunities that the Dell brand affords. Already the division’s head count has increased by 15% to 1,150 since the acquisition, while Dell will soon change its recommended security solutions from Juniper, Fortinet and Palo Alto to its own SonicWALL equipment.

This change alone should drive short term growth for the division. With Dell recommending the solution to work with its other datacentre solutions, CIOs that have previously dismissed SonicWALL will surely listen.

These views are supported by Kevin Swainson of Connector Systems, which is the exclusive distributor of Dell SonicWALL. Swainson has worked with the security brand for many years, and says he has already experienced the power of the Dell brand opening doors that have been closed to SonicWALL in the past.

96% of the 500 largest corporations globally already buy Dell solutions; the question is how many will start buying SonicWALL now it’s part of the family?

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