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Greg Davis said you were someone that he could ping ideas off of, someone who would offer him advice as he was ramping up PartnerDirect. Do you remember any particular words you had for him?
It's pretty simple. At the end of the day, it's clear that solution providers have a lot of choices, vendors they can partner with. Most significant to this is you have to have a value add. There's got to be a reason that partners want to partner with you, in terms of a go-to-market strategy. I've always maintained the most significant aspect of working with the channel is stay focused on partner profitability and the ability for them to sell your products and services. We talked about some basic things. I've held true to four principles all along. He didn't need for me to tell him about them because he's been around, but they are:
One, it's really critical to grow mutual revenue and profitability. The partner has to grow and the vendor has to be able to do the same. Two, vendors must continually invest in channel programs, offerings, support, all the things partners need to stay successful. Three, we talk about this a lot, the ease of doing business. That's critical that vendors continue to work that. If they don't, that equates to [increased] cost, which cuts profitability. The fourth is vendor management, working with the sales force that's in the street, [helping] the partners and sales teams to bring [solutions] to customers.
Dell's future is a bit up in the air, so to speak. They are in the middle of a proposed leverage buyout and who knows what will happen there. Was that a consideration when you were thinking of joining the company?
No, it really [wasn't]. First, I wouldn't want to comment on that [leveraged buyout] and I couldn't. Certainly, I've been following it. At the end of the day, the things that mattered to me making the decision were, one, the company itself. I've been very fortunate to work for two world-class companies, now a third. That was the No. 1 consideration. The second piece was the commitment to the channel. That's where I made my career. It's what I want to do. That was a very important consideration. Third is obviously the overall value proposition that [Dell] can provide to the marketplace and customers. Those three things made sense.
That I get excited about the company and the brand goes without speaking. That is a top-notch company. The commitment to the channel I've witnessed the last four, five, six years has been very significant. Lastly, I've been watching what's been happening in their acquisitions strategy and their ability to provide all the pieces of an IT solution. All that came into my decision and was important to me.