Partners: Dell's Transformation As Private Company Is Impressive, But Channel Wrinkles Persist


Based on interviews with several large Dell VARs, Dell has either broken promises or been unable to deliver "big" accounts to partners as part of Dell’s joint account management strategy announced last year at DellWorld.

Some Dell partners are frustrated because believe the vendor has doled out the most lucrative accounts to partners that are exclusive to Dell.

“I have a lot of respect for Dell, but if I want to grow my business, I can’t be 100 percent Dell right now,” said one partner who asked not to be identified.

Well-known West Coast solution provider En Pointe Technologies, on the other hand, said it is extremely pleased with its Dell partnership. The company says it is both a Dell and Hewlett-Packard partner.

"Our territory engagement with Dell is in the best shape we’ve ever seen it. We have had more access to Dell direct sellers for joint account mapping and management than we have seen before," said Bob Bogle, senior VP of sales at En Pointe. "Dell has a lot of bad channel history to make up for and from what I can see they are doing it."

Hiechel said "it’s a little too early to tell" if Dell’s channel vision will start paying dividends for his company anytime soon. What has paid dividends, he said, is Dell’s long-range commitment to building products for the future.

"As a private company, Dell has shown it's willing to make the right investments as a company," Hiechel said. "They are no longer reacting to the market. Their focus on Compellent and how it integrates with the larger Dell ecosystem, and their commitment to becoming a leading switch company, is starting to come together."

“Since going private, Dell has been investing strategically to acquire the IP and expertise it needs to package software and services in a more digestible way,” McCabe said.

St. Charles agrees, and said Dell is taking the time to piece together years of business and IP acquisitions and creating cohesive business solutions that tie client, server, storage and datacenter together.

Dante Orsini, vice president of business development at iLand, a Houston-based cloud computing firm that is both a Dell partner and customer, said Dell has won a "massive vote of confidence" from the channel.

"They have a vision for the long game and have communicated that they are not holding back and will be driving their platform forward,” Orsini said. "As a private company, they seem to listen more to partners like us – and not Wall Street investors. Dell is taking our suggestions to heart and engineer the types of solutions that are going to help us grow."

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