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XChange 2014: Dell Capitalizes On Channel Sales Growth, IBM-Lenovo Uncertainty

Less than a year after going private, Dell is growing channel sales faster than direct sales and taking advantage on the uncertainty regarding IBM's x86 business.

Dell's channel business is growing fast, fueled by the company's reinvention as a private entity, the strength of its product portfolio and market shifts that the company has been able to seize with the help of its channel partners, said channel chief Cheryl Cook.

Cook, Dell's vice president of global channel and alliances, told several hundred attendees of XChange 2014 Sunday in San Antonio that the company's indirect business continues to grow faster than its direct business.

"I can assure you we are in this for the long haul," Cook said. "Our indirect business continues to grow faster than our direct business at Dell, and we're going to keep our foot on the gas pedal."

[Related: Dell Partners: Some Say They're Feeling The Love, Others Say They're Feeling Left Out ]

Since Michael Dell took the company private in October 2013, Cook said the company has "a renewed sense of enthusiasm" and is driving "a better experience and better value to customers and partners."

Dell also is focused on building a more diverse, high-quality portfolio while maintaining its edge in traditional areas of strength -- desktops, personal computers, workstations and tablets.

Year-over-year worldwide sales for PCs has jumped 13 percent, Cook said, due in good part to the retirement of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system in April.

At the same time, Dell is driving partners to investment in new product areas, Cook said, pointing to solution provider line-of-business registration successfully launched in February for storage, networking and software products.

Since that time, line-of-business registrations have increased by 175 percent, Cook said.

Dell also is seizing on the uncertainty regarding the fate of IBM's x86 business, Cook said, with the company tripling its win rate in those opportunities since IBM in January unveiled plans to sell its server business to Chinese computer giant Lenovo.

Acquisitions and organic product development alike have allowed Dell to further entrench its foothold in the security arena, Cook said. The increased use of mobile devices in the workforce has resulted in both enhanced network security through partnerships with Oracle and SAP, and a boost in data center offerings through the acquisition of Quest.

More mobility also has led to additional end user demand for consultation, Cook said.

In total, Dell has embarked upon more than $18 billion of acquisitions to become more of a full-service provider, with serious plays made into previously unchartered territory. Cook hopes the push will convince partners who currently sell in just one or two areas of Dell's portfolio to expand their offerings.

"We've made great strides in storage and flash," she said.

NEXT: Dell's Efforts Paying Off


Glenn Steder, director of vendor management at DMD Data Systems in Frankfort, Ky., said Dell has improved the features of its enterprise products and he hopes that the company continues the path to be more competitive with rivals.

"They've made tremendous strides over time," Steder said.

Brady Bunner, senior account manager at Kutztown, Pa.-based solution provider LANtek, said Dell wasn't as receptive to working with the channel back when he was employed with the company around the year 2000. But the company has since left its direct-only roots behind, and Bunner said he was pleasantly surprised to hear Cook's stance on building Dell into a channel-friendly company.

"I'll definitely give them a second look," Bunner said.

Samantha Allen contributed to this report

PUBLISHED AUGUST 18, 2014

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