Dell has significantly boosted its channel credibility with the addition of channel icon Frank Vitagliano, a 40-year industry veteran, to its management roster.
Vitagliano, who brings with him extensive relationships with a wide swath of networking, security and infrastructure solution providers, joins Dell on Monday as its vice president of channel sales, where he will oversee all regional (SMB) and specialty solution providers.
In March Vitagliano left his role as senior vice president of Americas Partners for Juniper after spending seven years with the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based networking vendor.
"I've known Frank for years. He clearly brings a wealth of knowledge about the channel, a wealth of respect from the partner community and the ability to build channel programs to deliver initiatives to channel partners," said Greg Davis, vice president and general manager of global commercial channels at Dell, Round Rock, Texas. "That's the opportunity we're excited about."
Vitagliano said he has watched Dell from afar and has admired its progress in the IT industry and in the channel.
"Over the last couple years, I watched very closely their acquisition strategy and what's been going on in terms of the transformation of the company. It really got me excited. Also, I've known Greg Davis for a long time, and he really impressed me with the job he and Jim [Defoe, vice president of global commercial channels sales and programs at Dell] have been doing. They're really becoming a major channel player."
In addition to driving Dell's SMB partner initiatives, Vitagliano will also handle specialty solution providers including any legacy partners that Dell picked up through acquisitions that remain selling just one platform, such as EqualLogic or SonicWall, Davis said.
Some Dell partners were ecstatic that Dell has scooped up a longtime channel leader in Vitagliano as the company works to build up its PartnerDirect program and stake a bigger claim in the indirect sales market it once shunned.
David Nahabedian, principal and co-founder of Integration Partners, a Lexington, Mass.-based solution provider and Juniper partner, said Vitagliano and Juniper meant so much to his business that he will take a closer look at Dell now, something he would not have done before.
"He made our business very personal to him. I felt we could go to him with questions or challenges and he would always get an answer. It wasn't always what we wanted but he was always fair to Juniper and fair to the partner community," Nahabedian said. "It is bittersweet to see him go, but we will consider what Dell has to offer, and we would have never done that if Frank hadn't gone there. I'm not even sure if there's a fit in our business [for Dell], but with Frank there, it makes us think about it."
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