Dell's channel business in the U.S. increased more than 24 percent in the second quarter, thanks in part to the integration of Compellent as well as increased demand in data center solutions, said Greg Davis, vice president and general manager for Dell's global commercial channels.
Globally, Dell's channel grew 24 percent in the quarter and the U.S. business was higher than that, said Davis.
"We feel good about our strategy. We feel good about differentiating Dell around our core enterprise products," said Davis in a quarterly update with CRN.
During the second quarter, Dell completed the integration of its Compellent acquisition, including channel programs in which the vendor sought to cross-train Dell EqualLogic partners on Compellent and legacy Compellent partners on EqualLogic.
The success of the merger of those two channel programs will also serve as an example for the channel merger between Dell and its Force 10 acquisition, which closed Friday, Davis said. Final details of a combined channel program should be done by Oct. 1, he said.
"There's a lot of integration work around IT and planning for programs that can't get done fast enough. The [Force 10] channel program and infrastructure will stay same for another 30 days. Then we'll merge similar to Compellent. We'll take the best of Dell, the best of Force 10 for all partners. We'll grandfather partners in and cross-train others around networking products."
The merger of the Dell and Force 10 channel programs needs more time to iron out details on what Dell's updated networking certification will look like, Davis said. "We will have a training online tool for partners around our PowerConnect products and the Force 10 networking products. We want Force10 partners to understand Dell's PowerConnect line as it all becomes one Dell-branded set of products in networking," he said.
While Dell's channel initiative in the U.S. focuses on data center solutions (servers, storage and now networking), Davis echoed CEO Michael Dell's statements to CRN earlier in the week that Dell is attracting more PC-selling VARs now that Hewlett-Packard has declared its intent to sell off its Personal Systems Group.
"Regardless of any actions of competitors, our strategy has been working. When I look at recent announcements, I think a lot of customers are concerned. Channel partners are concerned about the future. They don't know what to expect. They've gone through [turmoil] with IBM and Lenovo. They really want stability and reliability from [vendor] partners," Davis said. "One of the things I'm most proud of is we've been very consistent and very straight forward about what we can do, what we will do for the last three or four years. Partners really value that. They see the benefit of how to work with Dell because we've been consistent. That's not going to change. The PC business is extremely strategic to Dell. The channel business is extremely strategic to Dell. We sell a lot of desktops and notebooks through channel partners and we want to help them through uncertainty."
Davis declined to offer specific details on how it might look to win HP VARs and customers but he said Dell is "doubling efforts with partners" to do that.
Next: Dell Demo Centers Available
He spent much of the week on the road meeting with U.S. VARs trying to help those partners win more market share in the PC space, he said.
"I think it's a great opportunity to tell the Dell story to customers that may not have considered us in the past. I think small businesses are equally concerned [as large businesses about HP's PC future]. They may not be buying 200 notebooks at a time, but their investment in technology is a big cut into their wallet."
To help win more VAR mindshare, this week Dell sent an e-mail to partners announcing a new online demo center that VARs can leverage with their customers. Solution providers can schedule time slots in the data center and conduct demos with the help of Dell engineers, said Paul Shaffer, Dell's worldwide channel marketing director.
"We've talked about a billion dollar investment. This is a portion of that," Shaffer said.
Specific products and solutions available for demos include: Dell EqualLogic, Dell Compellent Storage Center, Dell Management Console, Dell M1000e CMC, Dell Remote Access Controller, Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter, PowerEdge Lifecycle Controller, Dell Advanced Infrastructure Manager and Dell VIS Self-Service Creator.
Initially, the demo center is only available for online use but Dell intends to make multiple centers available for onsite demos in the near future, Shaffer said.
"It's a future phase, but that's the intent. We'll have a couple on the East Coast, Round Rock, one in the Midwest and we're also looking at facility on the West Coast. Our whole intent is to cover the U.S. one way or another and look at metropolitan areas where we would maximize the usage of these places," Shaffer said.