It's Dell's world, at least for part of next week.
The company's first ever Dell World is slated to begin next Wednesday in Austin, Texas, where the sold out event expected to bring together more than 2,000 customers, including nearly 200 executives from 67 different channel partner companies.
The event is the largest customer event the Round Rock, Texas-based vendor has ever held and CEO Michael Dell has attracted some heavyweight peers to deliver keynote addresses. They include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, VMware CEO Paul Maritz, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and former U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra.
Other sessions will focus on cloud and IT services innovation, dynamic data center, open solutions experiences and workforce innovation. The conference closes with a panel for channel partners hosted by Greg Davis, Dell's vice president and general manager for Dell's global commercial channels.
Solution providers attending Dell World will also be treated to an exclusive Channel Solutions Center lounge area and lunch with Michael Dell on Thursday.
Dell has made several inroads with solution providers since launching its PartnerDirect program four years ago and the content around Dell World is a positive reinforcement of its strategy to unite customers and the channel, said one VAR planning to attend the conference.
"Once they make a decision, they line up assets and move quickly to execute," said Paul Wallace, director of business development at SHI, an Austin, Texas-based solution provider.
Wallace is hopeful to hear more details about further channel initiatives at the show, he said.
"The real thing I'm interested to see is not from a product focus but more on how it will be easier to do business with Dell. They've put a lot of things in place to eliminate [channel] conflict. That's been good for our business and I hope there's a lot more in the works. I've heard hints of things and I'd like to see where they are with new ideas," Wallace said.
A unique feature of Dell World is that it lets VARs and end users comingle, said Bob Venero, CEO of Future Tech Enterprise, a Holtsville, N.Y.-based solution provider also planning to attend.
Venero said he's bringing some high-level customers to the conference to jointly meet with Dell executives.
"Those types of engagements bring a little more functionality to the event. You, get more value than if it's a partner-only event," Venero said. "A while ago, [Dell] asked us some questions about what value we would want at the event and their goal out of the gate was a combination event. Hearing from industry leaders is a value and hearing from customers too is a value."