Channel programs News

Looking For 'Titanium' Growth, A Dell EMC Partner Hires Its First COO

Joseph F. Kovar

Winslow Technology Group President Scott Winslow (pictured, left) said he has hired Ed Palmer (pictured, right) to be his company's COO. Palmer, who worked with Winslow in the 1990s at the former tape library vendor StorageTek, resigned from Skokie, Ill.-based Forsythe Technology earlier this year. At Forsythe, Palmer was director of partner alliances and field operations, and he called Winslow looking for ideas for his next stage of his career.

Winslow said he remembered Palmer as a great engineer back at StorageTek. "We called him 'King Eddy' back then because everything he touched turned to gold," he said. "He called to tell me he left Forsythe, where he managed vendor relationships. He is a great engineer. He asked me ideas for his next step. I said I'd like to hire him."

Winslow's company, like many Dell and EMC channel partners before the two vendors merged, was grandfathered into the new combined Dell EMC channel program at the Titanium level. That's the highest level in the program except for a handful of large partners who qualify for the more elite Titanium Black level.

Several partners could lose Titanium status in Dell EMC's fiscal year 2018 if they do not meet some minimum revenue requirements set by Dell EMC – $25 million in product revenue and $6.5 million in services revenue, according to channel sources.

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Winslow told CRN he has been looking at how to increase revenue from sales of products and services from Dell EMC, his company's largest vendor partner, with an eye on maintaining that Titanium status.

However, he said, that growth also has to come in such a way as to benefit his company's business as well. "I am looking at how to grow the business," he said. "And, as we grow, I need to make sure we are maximizing profitability, expanding services, and providing staff augmentation."

Palmer, Winslow said, was the right person to put together plans to increase revenue with Dell, Nutanix, and other vendors, as well as how to work with the vendors on maximizing support and market development funds.

For Palmer, who helped Winslow with consulting when Winslow Technology Group was formed about 13 years ago, the new chief operating officer role at WTG was an opportunity to expand his horizons. He had earned an MBA since he last worked with Winslow.

Palmer started as WTG's COO about six weeks ago.

Palmer told CRN that the definition of chief operating officer varies by industry and company.

"In the context of my role at Winslow, we discussed how to expand the operations aspect of the business," he said. "We talked about how to streamline the business, how to promote efficiencies. And with my background in alliances, we discussed how to leverage our vendors' partner programs better. Scott's team has done well. But we're looking at programs the company hasn't used yet."

Winslow Technology Group has grown to the point at where it needs additional resources, Palmer said. "And Scott wants to scale the business. To do so, we need to look at the vendor portfolios and where we can grow."

Winslow Technology Group until now has been small and relatively invisible, Palmer said.

"It can make decisions quickly, and change directions as needed," he said. "Scott's done a great job of growing the business profitably. And he can increase profitability. But he's at the point where he needs more structure than he has had before. To Scott's credit, he sees the need to streamline operations and profitability further."

Winslow said Palmer is second executive hire he has made as part of a plan to grow Winslow Technology Group after bringing in Rick Gouin as CTO in 2013.

The moves are part of a focus on growing the business organically, Winslow said.

"I'm not ready to sell and give up calling the shots," he said. "I'm having too much fun. But I'm not ready to acquire someone else. I have a six-year-old at home. I coach little league baseball. The nice thing about being a regional VAR is I don't have to travel so much."

However, Winslow said, Dell EMC clearly wants its channel partners to grow bigger. "We've taken this as a challenge to grow our company," he said.