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One solution provider, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Dell could easily get to its goal of 50 percent of revenue coming from the channel if it fixed its ordering processes.
"Dell wants partnerships, but still has their old direct sales processes," the solution provider said. "You can put as much lipstick on a pig as you want, but it's still a pig. From financing to sales, the processes are still a nightmare."
Yet despite the issues, that solution provider understands that fixing the processes takes time. "We know these problems will be fixed eventually," the solution provider said.
Dell, in response to a partner question about the ordering process, said that the company is addressing the issue, but that integration of nine new acquisitions since last year takes time. "We don't want to slow down the selling process while we're doing that," he said.
Dell's goal is to bring partners ordering process and Dell's ordering process into sync, Dell said. "We really want to link your system and our system in sort of an EDI (electronic data interchange) system," he said.
Kmiec said that hearing the channel message directly from Michael Dell was very important to him.
"It's pretty informative to hear it from the top," he said. "These things start from the top and work themselves all the way to the bottom. I know the channel message is getting delivered throughout Dell. This gives us confidence that we'll see our Dell business expand."
The most important message from Michael Dell is that he and his company understand the enormous opportunity that can be gained from working with the channel, said Paul Clifford, president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul, Minn.-based solution provider who became a Dell partner when Dell acquired storage vendor Compellent.
Dell has gathered some of the best intellectual property on Earth with its acquisitions over the last year or so, Clifford said. That makes it easy to work with Dell to sell solutions, and not just hardware, he said.
"We're talking solutions with best-of-breed technology," he said. "Dell has the two best storage platforms out there. And combined with its upcoming 12th-generation servers with built-in Flash storage, Dell is solving real customer issues."
One of the keys to success with Dell as a channel partner is to find the right people in the company with which to work, Clifford said.
"Michael (Dell) said he wants half of Dell's business to go through the channel," he said. "We like that. But some of the old-line Dell people are still focused on direct sales. So we look to work with people who work with us."
Despite a few issues, Dell is doing a great job of embracing the channel, Clifford said.
"We've got high expectations and high standards because of our work with Compellent in the past," he said. "But we're here with Dell by choice. We want this to work."