Dell EMC set to significantly scale its channel partner ecosystem

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Anil Sethi, Vice President, Channels, Dell EMC India

The firm has rolled out a new channel strategy which would be common for all parts of the business. The company is capturing more large-scale deals with customers that span a range of Dell EMC’s integrated products and service

Since Dell’s purchase of EMC in 2016, the newly formed entity, Dell EMC, is focusing its energies on the channel community as the channel community will play a vital role in synergizing the strengths of the two brands. It has rolled out a new channel strategy which would be common for all parts of the business. The company is capturing more large-scale deals with customers that span a range of Dell EMC’s integrated products and services. This is helping in driving the company’s efforts in multi-cloud environments and emerging market opportunities, including the Internet of Things (IoT).

Moreover, Dell EMC feels that partners should focus on learning new ways to take advantage of the opportunities presented by digital transformation and emerging technologies, as well as advancing their digital transformation capabilities through IT, workforce and security transformation.

In 2016-17, the way Dell and EMC have come together, the channel commitment at the global level across the world is phenomenal. It will be an important year for the IT infrastructure market and especially Dell EMC’s position within it.

Dell EMC channel program turns one
Dell EMC has completed the first anniversary of the IT industry’s largest corporate acquisition. Dell EMC is also profiting from its strategically aligned businesses, VMware, Pivotal and SecureWorks. The company appears well-positioned to compete in numerous new market opportunities and creating partner ecosystems to drive the large mega infrastructure projects including multi-cloud environments and IoT.

Currently, close to 65 per cent of the business comes from 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.

The company has helped partners drive profitable growth through new lines of business, acquisition of new customers, and larger and more profitable solutions. “Globally, we have announced an investment of $150 million for building our channel programmes. 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,” says Anil Sethi, Vice President, Channels, Dell EMC India.

The company has identified key industrial verticals that offer the largest opportunity for partner growth such as healthcare and life sciences, energy (oil & gas, utilities), video surveillance, and SLED (State and Local Government, Education). Additionally, it is looking for significant opportunities in helping partners build solutions in some trending areas including IoT, AR/IR and machine learning.

“Our partners’ loyalty is an integral piece to our success as a business, and we’re constantly striving to improve our offering of support, incentives and resources to help our partners to grow hand in hand with Dell EMC,” says Sethi.

Unified channel initiatives
Within the last one year, Dell EMC has continued to enhance its program. The program was built on a strong framework supported by partner feedback. Throughout the year, Dell EMC has maintained strong relationships with its channel. “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,” informs Sethi.

To drive channel engagements the company has formed emerging channels team that looks to bring new partners into the fold as well as build and sustain the relationships with existing partners in the program.

The importance of partner training
According to Sethi, it is important for a partner to participate in the emerging government led projects — be it digital India or smart cities. Learning the new ways with a strong capital will be the two ‘must-have’ eligibility for partners to be part of this drive. 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 specialized resources that can help partners to configure faster.

“We have specialized teams in all the core areas, be it storage, compute, network followed by Smart Pricing concept. We have an Insight Engine that does a great job. Through our MDF (Market Development Fund), 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,” adds Sethi.

Driving partners’ profitability
The $74-billion company, which follows a February-January fiscal year, has over 20,000 channel partners in APJ, of which 600 have been elevated to a three-tiered structure of partners as a part of the new unified Dell EMC channel partner program. The company has also protected profitability of partners with an investment of $150 million incremental dollars globally in channel rebates.

“Partners can now earn 1.5-8 times more than they did in the old programme. Our unique proposition to partners is that we bill directly to the 600 metal partners and give them direct credit lines, depending on their financial strength. Partner profits increase as they would have had to pay something to buy it from the distributor, who buys from us,” says Sethi.

The biggest trend that Dell EMC sees is the cloud getting mature as a technology and becoming a stable revenue stream for customers. “The message to partners is how they can add great value at the customer end as new models and changed buying methods evolve faster. We believe around 50 per cent of the traditional way of buying IT infra will change
and channels need to shift gears,” says Sethi.

Sanjiv Krishen, CEO, Iris Computer, believes that the combined entity will open up new avenues for partners and distributors. “For Iris, Dell is one of the largest vendors. We distribute notebook, servers and storage products. Having said, we have yet to move to selling EMC solutions.”