Dell managed to squeak past rival Hewlett-Packard to claim a victory as the SMB Network Storage Channel Champion, thanks to the technology and the channel support it has been building for the past four years. Dell, which has filled out its SMB networked storage business with acquisitions starting with that of iSCSI leader EqualLogic in 2008, was able to use its technology and support prowess to become the overall Channel Champion in the category despite just barely ceding first place in the financial factors subcategory to HP.
It was not an easy win for Dell. The company won only three of the five technical satisfaction criteria, and only three of the five support satisfaction criteria. However, that was enough to give Dell the overall crown despite losing the overall financial factors rating to HP. Bob Skelley, global certified partner program and channel executive director for Dell, said his company has managed to knit its EqualLogic and Compellent product lines together with other acquired technology to provide customers with end-to-end storage solutions. "And customers like that," Skelley said.
The fact that Dell just missed in terms of financial factors may not be a major concern to Dell, Skelley said. "It's telling you that this is a competitive space," he said. "With SMB storage, financial factors can be pretty tight. For any of us to win, it comes down to the value proposition."
Paul Clifford, president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul, Minn.-based solution provider and Dell partner, also said that technical and support satisfaction are more valuable than price or margin.
"Ask a customer to rank the three, and price is No. 3," Clifford said. "If price is No. 1, there's no deal for us. If price is No. 1, we tell the customer to go buy out of the back of a magazine."