Partners: Dell's Transformation As Private Company Is Impressive, But Channel Wrinkles Persist

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Partners tell CRN they have been winning with Dell at the expense of IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

"There was a lot of uncertainty around Dell, but now customers are seeing that Dell weathered the storm, they are committed to the channel and fired-up for growth," said one partner that not to be identified for fear of hurting its vendor relations.

However, some hiccups persist. Hiechel said he has seen delays in quotes and special configurations. "It’s a two-fold problem. They need to simultaneously encourage the channel to come back to Dell and deliver on the vision it laid out as a private company."

The new Dell, according to VARs interviewed by CRN, seems to be more beneficial to its larger partners. But smaller Dell partners tell CRN they aren’t seeing the same type of account mapping or partnering their larger counterparts are enjoying.

John Pucillo-Dunphy, owner of Miracle Networking Solutions, a Middleboro, Mass.-based Dell premier partner that generates less than $1 million in revenue annually, said his Dell relationship has deteriorated since the vendor went private.

"I’m sure I don’t do enough Dell business to matter to them," Pucillo-Dunphy said.

Pucillo-Dunphy said Dell has raised shipping costs, reduced its options for PCs, and hiked software prices on packages such as Adobe Standard. He said his calls to Gold Account Dell reps are now going to Dell’s Global Account team, which he characterized as less personalized and dedicated to his needs.

"My Dell business is up 10 percent," Pucillo-Dunphy said. "Not because Dell has been more strategic with me, but because of Windows XP migrations and a better economy that have loosened the purse strings of the companies I do business with."

"Dell’s message is right on the money," Pucillo-Dunphy said. "But the execution isn’t there."

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