Dell EMC accelerates partner business growth

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Along with broader offerings and increased incentives, Dell EMC has introduced new programmes to recognise partners and fast-track channel growth

Today, technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality, and Big Data among others are reshaping and transforming every industry. As most of the organisations across the globe expect digital transformation to help evolve business model, the investments in these emerging technologies have gradually become a top strategic priority. Business leaders demand technologies that deliver positive outcomes, such as increased performance and reach, improved productivity, and reduced cost of doing business. It is even imperative for channel partners to understand the significant role that digital transformation plays in enterprise innovation and business disruption.

It is very clear that these changing market dynamics bring a plethora of opportunities for technology vendors, and Dell EMC, as a global tech giant and one of the fastest growing companies of Dell Technologies, sees a huge opportunity in emerging technologies like IoT and other advanced technologies. The company believes that cutting-edge business solutions will be essential to the infrastructure of the digital future, supplying the channel and its customers with the technology they need to make advancements in every corner of the business world and society at large. Moreover, implementing these technologies effectively requires strong technical skills, deep knowledge of the customer’s business and integration capability.

Elucidating further on this approach, Joyce Mullen, President, Global Channel, OEM & IoT Solutions, Dell EMC, says, “We are encouraging partners to dive in with emerging technologies and providing tools and resources, like our new IoT solutions competency, to help them learn quickly. Many of our partners have built businesses around these capabilities, which means digital disruption is a huge opportunity for our partner community.”

In the current scenario, most of the vendors place partners at the forefront while helping customers embrace digital transformation. At its core, the Dell Technologies business addresses this need and uniquely enables partners with the products, services, financing and programmes to make them successful.

As customers continue to embrace Dell Technologies as their essential infrastructure partner, the contribution of the entire channel ecosystem has been significant in this journey. This is evident by the fact that Dell Technologies’ global channel is an US$ 43 billion business, wherein the partner community is responsible for over half of Dell Technologies’ revenue and this business is growing fast.

“Our partners have stepped up to build solutions across the Dell Technologies portfolio and are pushing us to improve all the time. The short answer is that we could not have gotten to this point without the skills, commitment and hard work of our partners worldwide,” asserts Mullen.

The global strategy
Dell Technologies is investing in new programs, incentives and solutions designed to fast-track its channel partners’ delivery of digital, IT, security and workforce transformations for their customers. In fact, the company’s broader offerings and increased incentives will accelerate business growth of partners worldwide. For instance, the new Dell Technologies Advantage framework for partners will make it easier for channel partners to work across the Dell Technologies family of businesses with engagement, tools and incentives. While each business will continue to have its own independent programme, the new framework’s value-added capabilities and certifications enhance the ability to more easily and efficiently deliver positive business outcomes from across the Dell Technologies portfolio.

Similarly, the Dell EMC Partner Program provides a competitive and lucrative incentive infrastructure, all geared toward driving partner profitability. The basic tenets of this program are to be ‘Simple’, ‘Predictable’, and ‘Profitable’.

Mullen explains, “When you talk about broad offerings, there’s nobody else in the industry with our portfolio’s breadth, from edge to core, to cloud. This presents a massive opportunity for partners, and we encourage them to sell profitably across the full portfolio. Partners are selling more lines of businesses than ever before, and we want to see that continue to grow. We saw great success in FY19 Q1 across all major product categories, and we are counting on channel partners to drive additional share gains going forward.”
There are several key ways in which Dell EMC is helping partners accelerate their profitable cross-portfolio growth, including:

  • Improved enablement tools: Knowing that the partners’ time is incredibly valuable, the company is improving tools and streamlining processes so partners can spend less time on processes like deal registration and quoting, and more time helping customers, closing deals and generating profits.
  • Incentives: Providing incentives to partners who drive growth in key areas like the US$ 14 billion mid-range market. Currently, it is offering incentives around Tech Refreshes, Competitive Swaps and #GetModern proposals to encourage key selling behaviours.
  • MyRewards: It is an opt-in, points-based reward programme for Dell EMC’s solution providers. The new programme is built with significant input from the partners and offers bigger and better promotions that are easier to claim.

Talking about the significance of the partner program for Dell EMC India, Anil Sethi, Vice President – Channels, Dell EMC India, points out, “Channel partners, system integrators and distributors have played a critical role in empowering Dell EMC’s customers on their path towards digital transformation. The Dell EMC Partner Program has been instrumental in ensuring profitability and scale for all our partners in India and across the globe. We believe that the partner program will further catalyse our go-to-market strategy and business growth. We are committed to become the industry’s most trusted advisor to our customers.”

Even the new Dell EMC Ready Stack Program offers a simplified way to build validated infrastructure stacks based on Dell EMC’s best-of-breed technologies. This program is a channel-only sales initiative aimed at simplifying and expediting how partners group, sell and assemble converged infrastructure stacks based on Dell EMC and VMware data centre technologies. It’s a reference architecture that can be built from any combination of Dell EMC server, storage and networking. Partners get the ‘do-it-yourself’ benefits, without the risks or complicated deployments.

Mullen highlights, “This program accelerates partner profitability in the new segment of our converged go-to-market, while also enabling customers to improve their business agility and competitive advantage. This gives our partners confidence that they can offer a program that has true, integrated support from a single vendor, with simple, validated implementation, saving them time and providing a quicker path to revenue.”

These new rewards programme, rebates, and sales enablement tools will accelerate and expand partners’ revenue opportunities. “The opportunities to make money while selling across the Dell Technologies portfolio is nothing short of extraordinary. Investing in our partners is a no-brainer; it drives partner loyalty, sales velocity, and it allows them to re-invest their earnings and continue to grow with us. Seventy per cent of partners earned more rebates and incentives in FY18 than FY17. We want to see this number continue to rise,” comments Mullen.

By now it is clear that the Dell EMC Partner Program allows partners to be lucratively rewarded when transacting Dell and Dell EMC products, solutions and services. Moreover, the Dell Technologies Advantage Partner Framework will also complement the core of the Dell EMC Partner Program and will help partners tap into the power of the Dell Technologies’ family of brands – including Dell, Dell EMC, VMware, SecureWorks, Pivotal, RSA and Virtustream.

“These companies will still have their own programs, but we are going to make it easier to do business across the family and we are going to back that up with industry recognised credentials. The benefits of this collaborative effort will be exciting for partners. For example, partners who are Titanium Black accredited in the Dell EMC Partner Program, will also hold their Titanium Black status in other programs. We will align competencies and credentials so partners only have to take relevant trainings one time. We are introducing badging, which gives partners bragging rights, and are going to reward partners for doing more business around these companies. Titanium Black partners represent the uppermost echelon of companies working closely with Dell Technologies. This year, Swisscom and Itochu have achieved Titanium Black status, joining Atea, Bechtle, CDW, Computacenter, FusionStorm, Insight, SHI and WWT,” she adds.

The APJ story
In the Asia Pacific and Japan region, Dell EMC has observed that India’s rate of adoption in emerging technologies is increasing rapidly, with the entire region playing a significant role in driving much of the digital adoption. There is a real push for businesses to accelerate their digital transformation plans with emerging technologies such as AI, IoT, robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality, and cloud computing, in order to remain competitive.

Through one of its recent research, ‘Realising 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future’, the company has also found out that a majority of businesses in the region are working towards transforming their businesses with technology at its core. More than 8 in 10 APJ leaders aim to meet five-year targets in crucial areas, such as using AI to pre-empt customer demands; delivering hyper-connected customer experiences through VR; using R&D to drive their entire organisation forward; completing their transition to a software-defined business and delivering their product offering as a service. Business leaders are divided in their planning and application of technologies, yet agree that they will need to transform digitally.

Sensing this, Dell EMC is well ahead in preparing its India partners as well as those from other markets in this region, so that they can solve their customers’ complex digital challenges through these emerging technologies.

Tian Beng Ng, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Channels, Asia Pacific and Japan, Dell EMC, opines, “It is the right time for new-age channel partner companies to invest in technologies that will help businesses transform themselves digitally. The transformation needs to happen in businesses across the three key pillars – IT, workforce and security. The growth in the focus on IT infrastructure will require channel partners to also act as service providers, thereby requiring them to become a holistic solutions provider. At Dell EMC, we want our partners to grow the top line and the bottom line; we want them to sell more of the portfolio. If an erstwhile partner was selling PCs or servers without our services, we gave them the option to start attaching our services.”

In terms of broadening the partners’ capabilities and helping them grow faster, the company is constantly working towards a comprehensive strategy aimed at delivering results for its partners and customers. While Dell EMC is laser-focused on driving profitable growth, it is also focused on storage and data protection this year. The partner programme now sees several enhancements along with support for channel that can help them deliver higher growth rates.

“We have a team called ‘Emerging Channels’ that looks to bring new partners into the fold while we build and sustain the relationships we have with existing partners in the program. We want partners to work with us over the long term and we want to equip them with the skills, capabilities and relationships to stay competitive in the market. This is where a comprehensive training and certification program for channel partners steps in. Our training modules are not just for external stakeholders, but also for internal teams. We also have specialised resources that help our customers configure faster and reduce go-to-market time. Additionally, our Smart Pricing concept helps customers save more time with less processes to raise quotes. We have specialised teams in all the core areas, be it storage, compute and networking,” explains Beng.

In terms of the India market, currently, close to 65 per cent of the business comes from the channel and rest is direct. Dell EMC has over 4,000 registered partners in India and over 40 strategic partners. Channel partners are an important part of the Dell EMC strategy, currently responsible for about 45 per cent of the company’s revenues in India.

“Globally, we have announced an investment of US$ 150 million for building our channel programs. India is one of the most important geographies for us and we will be investing in developing our partners here and help them increase their profitability,” adds Sethi.

Building competencies
Dell EMC understands the opportunities for partners around services and emerging technologies, including IoT. To that end, the company will begin introducing new Solutions Competency offerings in 2018. Building on the initial competencies introduced last year, Dell EMC’s channel partners will now have access to four new Solutions Competencies in the second half of the year.

Available now is the new IoT Solution Competency. Others to be added throughout the year will include high performance computing, data analytics, business applications, and security. In addition to the new Solutions Competencies, Dell EMC will also expand services deployment competencies, which enable partners to grow faster and increase revenue. In the last year, the partners who have leveraged these deployment competencies have seen a two-fold increase in their average deal size.

“The Dell EMC partner program is structured in such a way that by completing competencies, partners can benefit from increased sales due to greater expertise with Dell EMC products and solutions. Additionally, as partners complete more competencies, they will have the opportunity to progress to higher program tiers and receive greater rewards along the way,” says Beng.

As far as the domestic market is concerned, training and building capabilities of partners will be the core focus of Dell EMC India. For reducing the go-to-market time for customers, it has specialised resources that can help partners to configure faster.

“We have specialised teams in all the core areas, be it storage, compute, network followed by the Smart Pricing concept. We also have an Insight Engine that does a great job. Through our MDF, partners are now involved in the demand generation exercise. Instead of passing leads to them, we provide them with funds and want them to provide returns on investment here. It’s all about execution now, after having put in place the strategy along with our channel partners,” comments Sethi.

Measuring partners’ success
Partners’ success is very critical to Dell Technologies. The company measures that success in a number of ways – revenue, incentives, partner feedback, and more. By all accounts, last year, the company’s partners were incredibly successful. In FY’18, it saw 12 per cent revenue growth year-on-year, 70 per cent of partners earned more Dell EMC incentives year-on-year, and their partner net promoter scores were something to be very proud of. Perhaps the most important way the company measures its partners’ success is by listening to what they have to say. Additionally, the company hosts regular Partner Advisory Boards, conducts surveys and always welcomes feedback in any form.

Mullen points out, “We have a comprehensive award and recognition program to acknowledge the great work done by our partners. We handed out ‘Partner of the Year’ awards at Global Partner Summit last month and recognised many of our top partners in our annual President’s Circle contest. One of my favourite awards is the ‘Partner Services Quality Award’. What I like about this reward is that it is based on our valued customers’ input and recognises partners for their outstanding delivery performance.”

The way forward
The company’s goal is to become the industry’s best channel provider, in the eyes of its partners. As it witnessed a phenomenal first year with its partner community under the unified partner programme, it aims to continue improving every single day.

“We have an US$ 3 trillion market opportunity ahead of us. It’s an amazing opportunity for us to grow together. We expect partners to continue grow and bring in new customers. Partners have amazing relationships with their customers – those relationships and deep customer knowledge help us broaden our footprint into other constituents we might not otherwise reach. It’s a win-win for the customer, partner and for Dell Technologies,” asserts Mullen.

Meanwhile, Beng is of the opinion that in this digital disruption era, enterprises are struggling with skills gap and a lack of employee buy-in and business leaders are unsure whether digital transformation will free-up time or bring about more job satisfaction. This ambiguity makes it hard for leaders to plan for the future. “This is where I see more and more partners looked upon to not just sell products, but to support in establishing what that vision for the future would be. The channel is moving towards more solutions-oriented selling and really helping customers transform their entire businesses,” informs Beng.

Even Sethi is of the view that with cloud getting matured as a technology and becoming a stable revenue stream for customers, the traditional way of buying IT infra will change and the channel partners need to shift gears by adding incremental value to the customers. “As we refine the program to make sure we and our partners capitalize on the opportunity in emerging technologies, we look forward to have strong and productive relationships,” he concludes.