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New services opportunities and increased training are the latest hallmarks of Dell's continually-evolving channel program as the company looks to channel partners to help increase its enterprise IT business.
Gregory Davis, vice president and general manager for Dell's global commercial channels, said that Dell has over the years evolved into a services-led company both in terms of partner-led opportunities or direct to customers.
The question of Dell services sales through solution providers came in response to that company's move earlier this week to introduce its latest generation of servers, along with related storage and network offerings.
Dell used the unveiling of the new products to distance itself from its heritage as a PC vendor and portray itself as a provider of end-to-end business solutions, with Chairman and CEO Michael Dell proclaiming, "We are not a PC company."
While extended warranty and desktop support services are the services currently most commonly offered by solution providers, Davis said Dell wants to go deeper with partners.
"We want to offer partners services all the way up to consulting for Dell," he said. "We want to be able to offer a complete service, but we know that every partner is different."
Partners currently have few restrictions in terms of Dell services they can offer customers, Davis said. "Maybe there are some highly complex services that have not yet been 'operationalized' for the channel," he said.
While Davis declined to discuss what percentage of Dell services revenue comes from the channel, or how much Dell's total channel-driven services revenue is, he did say that the company does closely track services sales through channel partners.
Davis did say that the attach rate of Dell services bundled with Dell hardware through the channel is growing by about 1 percent per quarter.
With the new end-to-end solutions and a push to increase solution provider engagements with Dell services, Dell is increasing its partner training, Davis said.
In 2011, Dell delivered 135,000 training classes to its partner sales reps and technical people, he said. "There's no reason we can't do 250,000 classes this year," he said. "The classes are available on-line or in the classroom, and are all free to partners.
Dell is also focusing its partner programs on emphasizing data center solutions including servers, storage, networking, and systems management rather than on point products, Davis said. "This is where we can add value to customers," he said.
At the same time, Dell wants to keep its partner programs as simple as possible, with a single point of accountability rather than have four or five different divisions talking to partners about the programs, Davis said.
"Our approach to our customer is always, 'One Dell,'" he said. "I don't want to come to partners and say, 'If you're good at this, we'll give you X, and if you're good at that, we'll give you Y."
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