Dell To Unify Partner Programs And Channel Training For PartnerDirect

The computer maker is set to announce the update Sept. 3. The push is an attempt to unify back-end sales tools and training programs of several key acquisitions, including Quest, SonicWall and Wyse.

Dell will be moving much of its software group into the PartnerDirect program, giving partners 150 software products to sell. Part of the strategy, CRN has learned, will also include new PartnerDirect tools, training and deal registration tools.

Putting more tools at VARs' fingertips in one spot will drive sales for Dell, says Matt Lancaster, account executive, Common Angle, a Petoskey, Mich.-based Dell Premier partner. "It's a logical next step. If I'm ordering a PC and server and can now add a firewall, router and a thin client, that means I'm less likely to turn to outside vendors," he said.

[Related: Dell Exec Shuffle Forms Consolidated Global Channel Group ]

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Dell partners previously had multiple channel programs and tools for selling Quest, SonicWall and Wyse products. "Our partners can work with Dell with storage, server, networking, security and now software from one destination," said Greg Davis, vice president and general manager of Dell's Global Commercial Channel. "There's still a lot of integration work for us to do, but we're moving along."

The number of Dell acquisitions have ballooned over the years as the company attempts to transition itself from a commodity PC maker to a company that sells complete hardware, software and cloud solutions to companies. To build out its networking, software and services business, it has acquired 25 companies, notably Quest, Perot Systems, Force 10 Networks and Wyse. Part of CEO Michael Dell's argument to investors to take his company private has been a need to integrate company acquisitions -- out of Wall Street's specter -- into one streamlined solution for customers.

Dell also is expected to add four new software competencies to its training portfolio, including security, systems management, data protection and information management. Davis said combining those acquisitions into cohesive "integrated systems" is a Herculean effort on Dell's part, but should be a painless transition from a partner perspective.

"Training partners and growing our partner business is absolutely a key part of Dell's channel strategy. We need a base of partners who are trained in helping companies with completely embedded solutions for database, storage and security," Davis said.