How 3 Dell Partners Are Delivering Cutting-Edge Solutions Today
Dell Technologies partners are growing, winning deals and breaking into new verticals by helping customers achieve greater efficiency, manageability and cost savings. Combined with storage giant EMC, partners say Dell offers them an unprecedented opportunity to win larger enterprise deals, sell end-to-end solutions and take a consultative approach to IT sales and service that allows them to deliver to customers the right solution for present and future needs.
Among the solution providers capitalizing on Dell's growth into market-leading positions are Winslow Technology Group, Waypoint Solutions and Sigmanet. Here's a look at how they have worked hand-in-hand with Dell to spur growth and ready themselves, and their customers, for the future.
Winslow Technology Group: Driving Big Sales Growth By Adding EMC To The Portfolio
Winslow Technology Group's focus on driving efficiency and flexibility for customers is resulting in some impressive growth numbers and lofty expectations as the solution provider welcomes EMC into the fold.
With the addition of EMC's portfolio of enterprise storage and hyper-convergence offerings, the company expects to see its growth numbers increase to 40 percent year on year. The Waltham, Mass.-based solution provider is Dell's 2016 Northeast Partner of the Year, and has already been booking 20 percent to 30 percent annual revenue growth in recent years.
In the past 10 months, Winslow Technology Group has increased staff by 30 percent, and Scott Winslow, the company's president, said the kind of revenue and headcount growth he's seeing is the result of his company's position at the leading edge of significant changes in the way customers make IT buying decisions.
Those changes, Winslow said, favor Dell. In one recent deal, Winslow Technology Group was able to use Dell's FX2 converged server platform to win an account away from Cisco Unified Computing System and Dell's own M1000e blade offering.
In addition to availability and performance, the customer, Immedion, a managed services and cloud services provider with seven data centers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio, was focused on space efficiency, manageability, fault domains and cost. Winslow Technology Group put the Dell FX2 platform head-to-head with Cisco UCS in an extensive proof-of-concept, and not only did Immedion choose the FX2, it has since standardized on the FX2 platform.
"That's incredibly powerful testimony when it comes from a customer," Winslow said. Immedion, Winslow said, "had been using Dell M1000 at 16 blades as their standard for compute. With Cisco at eight blades, or the Dell M1000 at 16, if they want to bring another customer on board they've got to invest in a minimum of eight blades.
But with the FX2, you can start in four-server increments. That was really important for them in terms of adding new customers, and from a capital expenditure standpoint."
Before the Dell-EMC merger, Winslow Technology Group's biggest competition was EMC partners. Now, he expects the end-to-end portfolio to boost growth, and he's not waiting around for that to happen. Winslow Technology Group has hired 10 people in the past 10 months, increasing its headcount by a third.
The solution provider began selling EMC's entire portfolio in June, Winslow said. "Our job is to identify customer issues and provide comprehensive solutions. We will be much more successful solving those challenges with the complete EMC solution set at our disposal. The key is getting trained and certified quickly so we can truly add value."
Circling back to the Immedion experience, a real key area of opportunity is compute, he said. "It is strategic for Dell and will be good now for our EMC brethren too. EMC has historically done so well providing storage solutions to the largest IT enterprises in the world, but they have never had a compute platform of their own to sell," Winslow said.
"With the combination of these two great companies, I think we are going to see Dell compute sales take off. Many more customers are going to do the same evaluation that Immedion did and come to the same logical conclusion—that the Dell server platform is the way to go. Whether it's the Dell FX2, VRTX, R700 or R900 series, we see Dell gaining momentum on the compute side as a result of this acquisition. We know that we can play a big role in that shift. We have the sales and engineering expertise to assist the new Dell Technologies team," he said.
Waypoint Solutions: Dell EMC 'Partner-Led' Combined With Consultative Approach Is Paying Off
Waypoint Solutions is breaking into new verticals by leaning on a consultative approach to selling Dell EMC solutions, and is anticipating growth as a result of Dell's shift to a partner-led account strategy.
And Waypoint is in a position to show Dell that a partner-led strategy—an evolution for Dell, but a cornerstone of EMC's go-to-market operation—can bear fruit.
Waypoint won a recent deal with the 14,000-student Seguin Independent School District in the suburbs of San Antonio over competitors' solutions that included Cisco, Nimble and NetApp. "This was a two-and-a-half-year sales cycle, and they went with us, and with Dell, because we stayed with the engagement, and stayed with the customer's needs," said Nick Wetsel, the Waypoint account executive who ran the deal. "Other partners were hitting roadblocks."
In the end, Waypoint sold the district a complete Dell solution, including Dell servers, Compellent storage, Force10 switching, Dell DR6000 backup and deduplication, Dell Netvault data protection and a Microsoft Hyper-V cluster via Dell's Quest unit.
The sale marks a bit of a turning point for Houston-based Waypoint, which has been concentrating on diversifying its customer base as its traditional vertical—the oil and gas industry— struggles to cope with global economic pressures.
Paul Neyman, the company's president, said the broad portfolio offered by Dell EMC ought to help in that regard. "We see a lot of potential in the hyper-converged play," Neyman said. "We see a lot of savings for our customers. Houston is a challenge. Oil and gas isn't going to change anytime soon. We're going to find new markets and new opportunities. We're looking to expand into new territories, new markets and new verticals like regional health care, security or high-performance computing. Customers want hyper-converged in a small form factor, and now I can do that."
With a broad portfolio that can be sold end to end, transactions should become simpler, opening the door for Waypoint to offer profitable services around the infrastructure it's selling, he said.
There's another way bringing EMC into the fold will help Waypoint. Dell has already committed to using an EMC-style partner-led strategy in accounts where solution providers have gained significant traction, and Wetsel said getting a boost like that is critical.
"EMC is typically channel-led, and that's going to help us immensely," Wetsel said. "We've been working collaboratively with Dell account executives in the field and with their inside counterparts. Now, there's going to be more of a directive around using the channel, and I think we'll see an influx of opportunities. For me, that's particularly important. I don't want my customers talking to anyone else."
Sigmanet: Focus On Total Dell Technologies Solution Is A Winning Formula
Sigmanet's focus on building complete solutions for its customers is resonating, and bringing EMC into the Dell fold will only make those solutions more complete, said Stephen Monteros, Sigmanet senior vice president.
The full solution approach isn't one that every solution provider takes to heart, Monteros said. Instead, some are simply pushing products where they sense the opportunity for a quick sale. And while that may have worked in the past, more and more customers are realizing that they're better served by complete solutions designed to help accomplish long-term goals.
In a recent transaction, Sigmanet took the Pittsburgh, Calif., Independent School District from simply replacing a motley assemblage of old gear to helping formulate a complete map for the 10,000-student district. The district, Monteros said, "was looking at remediating some backups, and then when we got into discussions with them, we found out they needed to transform their entire environment." It was running on "a mix of stuff they had acquired over the years and they just kind of put together," he said.
The stack Sigmanet, Ontario, Calif., ultimately sold is primarily Dell, including PowerEdge servers, Compellent storage and a mix of tablets, Chromebooks and Windows-based devices, Monteros said. The bid was competitive, but HPE and Lenovo were simply pitching products to replace the old gear, he said.
"Once we had a vision, it was easy to apply the numbers," Monteros said. "We partnered very closely with the Dell account manager. We presented together, and we worked very collaboratively. They had been pitched by HPE, Lenovo, all the regular players, but no one really looked at it as a total solution. They were just pitching point products, and that's the way they had done it historically."
Now, the district can move forward with its vision to become more interactive with students through video, tools like online education company Kahn Academy and one-to-one computing, Monteros said. "But to do that, you have to say, 'This is the size of the pipes, this is the storage, and start presenting options, options for how to put it together the way they want it."
Sigmanet, which partners with Dell and EMC, has had great success with Dell servers, and Monteros said he's looking forward to them being part of a turnkey solution with EMC storage.
"It doesn't hurt for them to have the compute and storage together," Monteros said. "It's certainly going to help sell a lot of PowerEdge [servers]."