Dell Unveils OEM Partner Program

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Dell on Tuesday unveiled a formal OEM partner program as a way to make it easier for OEM customers to develop solutions in concert with a variety of Dell partners.

The program comes at a time when Dell is increasingly providing products on top of which OEMs can add their own intellectual property, said Jeff Otchis, director of Americas Marketing for Dell OEM solutions.

Dell currently has over 2,000 OEM customers worldwide in over 40 different vertical markets, Otchis said.

[Related: Dell's Q4 Earnings Show Shift Towards Enterprise, Data Center Focus]

"Our primary focus has been providing our products to customers who add their own intellectual property and then lock it down for their customers," he said. "But more and more, we're providing custom sheet metal bending, custom packaging, even things like putting T-shirt in the boxes we use to ship Google search appliances."

The Dell OEM business was until about 18 months ago almost entirely focused on working directly with customers, Otchis said. "But now this business is more and more going indirect via distributors," he said.

The Dell OEM partner program is focused on two types of partners, Otchis said. The first are channel partners, including distributors such as Arrow Electronics, which provides a single point of purchase, expertise, certified manufacturing facilities, and systems integration.

The second are technology partners, including Intel, Microsoft, and SuSE which integrate their intellectual property into Dell hardware for delivery to customers in order to help OEM customers reduce time-to-market by addressing such needs as regulatory compliance, he said. Red Hat is currently in the process of being added to the list of technology partners, he said.

"We work with partners to help them put together a solution quickly without the need to invest in finding the right hardware," he said. "We provide them a single throat to choke."

Unlike Dell as a whole, which is focused on sales of existing products, Dell OEM focuses on deals with longer sales cycles, Otchis said.

"The rest of Dell, what we call 'Big Dell,' is more transactional," he said. "If a customer wants to buy, say, 100 notebooks, they look at speeds and feeds from Dell. Our organization works with customers looking for specific solutions that can incorporate Dell products and leverage our off-the-shelf commercial technology."

Dell OEM has been doing business for about 13 years, but has been shuffled between different parts of Dell. It currently resides in Dell's global channel organization, Otchis said.

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