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Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell: Partners Are Fueling Huge Growth And 'We're Winning Big'

Matt Brown

Dell Technologies Chairman and CEO Michael Dell said the company is booking significant growth and winning share as channel partners realize the enormous opportunity in selling the vendors deep portfolio of hardware and software products and services.

"Across the Dell Tech family, we have a unique an unparalleled portfolio and capability to address those problems, opportunities, and challenges customers have," Dell said. "And we elevate the discussion to that level; we're winning big."

It has been slightly more than a year since Dell closed the largest acquisition in the history of the IT industry, the landmark, $58 billion deal to buy data storage giant EMC. Already, the channel is seeing the benefits of the conglomerate's scale.

[Related: HPE CEO Whitman: It's Time For Partners To Move From 'Farmers' To 'Hunters']

"In the first half of the year, we've had double-digit growth through our channel partners, and when you include VMware, our channel program is $43 billion in scope," Dell said in a question and answer session with The Channel Company's CEO Bob Faletra before an audience of 300 top solution providers at the 2017 Best of Breed conference in Atlanta on Monday.

Dell's size and immense presence in the market is the company spur growth and assert itself even as traditional IT businesses contend with rapid consolidation, Dell said. "Our server business grew 22 percent in the first half of this year through the channel," he said. "We're No. 1 in servers and storage and back-up and virtualization and software-defined networking and all-flash and converged and hyper-converged and a big, long list of things. If we're No. 1 in servers and growing at 22 percent, did the whole industry grow at 22 percent? I don't think so. That means we're gaining share."

Those share gains are coming as solution providers answer the call to sell multiple lines of business. Dell said 80 percent of Dell Technologies partners are now selling both servers and storage, for example.

Partners are also latching onto the opportunity among the growing number of customers that are adopting some the cloud in some form, and want to make IT purchases on a subscription basis, boosting Dell Financial Services originations in the channel 97 percent compared to a year ago.

"Our partners that use Dell Financial Services are selling one-and-a-half times what the partners who are not using DFS [are]."

"We're changing the business to be more of a consumption business," Dell said. "When you take our infrastructure products along with the VMware software-defined data center, you've created a cloud. It's a multi-cloud world, and you need technologies that address that. We're incredibly well positioned to address that. This is why hyper-converged is growing really fast. We're No. 1 in hyper-converged. VMware has had four or five quarters of accelerated growth."

Dell said 70 percent of Dell Technologies partners had earned higher payouts than they did last year. "And what's growing faster than public cloud?" Dell said. "It's hyper-converged, converged, VMware NSX. It's this whole area of multi-cloud. If you're just doing what you were doing five years ago, you've got a problem. If you look at the places where the portfolio is evolving rapidly, it's in this whole cross-cloud architecture and multi-cloud world."

Jason Wright, managing director of national MSP All Covered IT Services from Konica Minolta, said as far as he is concerned, Dell Technologies has overcome its past problems with channel conflict.

"There were a lot of partners that beat up on Dell, and have done so for years," Wright said. "I was one of those partners because there was a lot of channel conflict, but the last couple of years, they've been evangelizing this message, which is that they're going to become a channel company. They went private, and I think they've done it."

Wright said Dell Technologies' newfound channel power is translating into big revenue gains for All Covered. "I can see it in the increased revenue and deals their team is giving us," he said. "The overall topline growth for my P&L could be as much as 30 percent this year, mostly attributable to deals we're getting from Dell that we didn't have. We won a church that spent $200,000 with us because Dell gave us the deal."

Bradley Brodkin, CEO of HighVail Systems Inc., a Toronto, Ontario, solution provider that is just starting to work with Dell Technologies, said the case for going to market with the industry behemoth keeps getting stronger, especially when it comes to emerging technologies like containers.

The Pivotal Container Service, a partnership between Dell Technologies companies Pivotal and VMware and Google Cloud, presents HighVail with a particularly exciting opportunity, Brodkin said.

"Google is somebody we were considering partnering with anyway," he said. "Now this is an interesting offering they're bringing to the table that is truly differentiated. You can't ignore anything in the marketplace, and listening to Michael Dell, you're listening to somebody who in my opinion is somebody who has always has been a true visionary in this industry."

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