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Dell's Cheryl Cook: Still No Decision On Dell-EMC Channel Leadership

Cook said it's likely that the team of top executives leading the integration of the two IT industry powerhouses have executives in mind for channel leadership positions, but neither she nor her EMC counterpart, Gregg Ambulos, have been briefed.

No decisions have been made about who will lead Dell's channel operation after it completes its acquisition of EMC, but announcements could come within the next month, Dell channel chief Cheryl Cook told CRN Friday.

Cook said it's likely that the team of top executives leading the integration of the two IT industry powerhouses have executives in mind for channel leadership positions, but neither she nor her counterpart at EMC, Gregg Ambulos, have been briefed.

In addition, the overall structure of the combined company's channel is also still to be finalized, Cook said.

[Related: Partners: Dell Is On Target To Compete With HPE, Cisco In The Enterprise Despite Q1 Sales Weakness]

"I expect the next level of leadership announcements will be made in the coming month, and that'll include channel leadership, division leadership and geographic leadership," Cook said. "The integration team I'm sure knows [who is going to fill those roles]. I don't think anything is final yet, but everybody's working on the structure first and then they'll say 'This is the leader' and put the name in the box. There's a lot of good, thoughtful collaborative work between the EMC side and Dell on arriving at the right structure that serves our customers, and we're going to put in the best talent to lead the combined new company."

Solution providers say that while the channel leadership will be important for Dell after the more-than $62 billion merger closes, how those leaders structure the company's channel operation and carry out its channel strategy is more important.

"The channel chief matters," said Dan Serpico, president of FusionStorm, a large VAR that partners with both Dell and EMC, but top executives including Chairman and CEO Michael Dell, COO Marius Haas and others "own that decision."

"That's where the rubber meets the road," Serpico said. "Do Gregg and Cheryl have something meaningful to say? Of course. They're executives, and they have opinions, but the generals lead the strategy. It's going to be very interesting to see how the two programs come together."

Likewise, Michael Pearson, president of Elk Grove, Calif.-based Dell partner DSA Technologies, said he's focused on how well the channel program works for solution providers.

"This acquisition, more than any, could have the biggest possible impact, and the big thing for me is product. No one should buy a data center over the phone. Anything enterprise should absolutely be channel-driven, and that's been my message to them all along."

Dell's acquisition of EMC is expected to be complete before the end of November. EMC shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposal July 19. The merger, considered the largest in the history of the IT industry, creates an $80 billion global tech behemoth. Today, EMC does about 60 percent of its business through the channel; Dell about 40 percent.


In an interview during the annual EMC World conference last month, Ambulos told CRN that the combined company's channel operation would look more like EMC's than Dell's.

"I'd say it slightly differently," Cook said. "What's been consistent with the way Dell has approached any of the other acquisitions we've done is that we're going to look very hard at taking the best attributes, capabilities and structure of both programs and try to make it better. We don't have any desire to disrupt what's effective and successful in their program that serves that high-end enterprise market very well. And we think we've got a really good strength that serves the enterprise, but also our client volume business, too, so we want the structure to be the best it can be to serve the entire portfolio. Where there's better capabilities in the EMC program that helps us accelerate our enterprise side of the business, and where we've got really effective, competitive programs in the client-volume side of the business, we're going to do that."

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