Partners: Dell Is Making Dramatic Gains In The Data Center

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Dell's aggressive enterprise offensive is paying off in big gains in the data center market as some solution providers are saying the company is displacing legacy competitors in a number of large accounts.

According to Dell, Round Rock, Texas, the company's North American Enterprise Systems Group partner business was up 28 percent year over year in its 2015 fiscal year, which ended Jan. 31.

Also, according to Dell, the company’s top 53 partners, whom it recently hosted in Austin, Texas, for its first-ever Strategic Partner Summit, grew their Dell business by a whopping 40 percent in the last fiscal year.

[Related: Michael Dell: 'New Way' SDN Opens Door For Dell To Shake Up 'Old Way' Cisco]

During the year, Dell's top North American partners completed 12,000 training courses, ran 1,100 marketing campaigns and reached 13,000 customers, the company said.

Solution providers attending the summit said they see Dell climbing the enterprise ladder to become one of their top strategic partners over the past several years. They say Dell is hungry and willing to collaborate to win deals.

Dell has jumped from a no-show in the top vendor ranks of FusionStorm four years ago to No. 3 behind Cisco Systems and EMC, said Mike Souza, senior vice president of sales and marketing at the San Francisco-based solution provider, No. 47 on the CRN 2015 Solution Provider 500 list. Dell is the fastest-growing vendor partner for FusionStorm, with portfolio sales growth of 75 percent for the last three consecutive years, said Souza.

"Our executive relationships are tight all the way from our CEO to Michael Dell all the way down," said Souza. "Everyone is involved. We don’t have that same relationship with other vendors. So much in life is about feeling and emotion. You really feel it with Dell from [Vice President of Channel Sales] Jim [DeFoe] all the way down to the field. When they say they are going to do something, they do it. We feel it, and it is real. We get a lot of lip service from the other OEMs."

Souza said he is "surprised" at how fast Dell is changing the enterprise IT landscape with its embrace of channel partners. "What the Dell channel program has done is brought validity to Dell as an enterprise player in a way they could never have imagined," he said. "With Dell Direct, customers had to question the objectivity of the Dell enterprise story. When you come to a channel partner, the objectivity opens up. Customers are hearing from channel partners that Dell is a real player. Now it is not just Dell making the statement. That has really opened customers' eyes a lot."

Bruce Geier, CEO of San Diego-based Technology Integration Group, No. 66 on the CRN 2015 Solution Provider 500, said TIG’s Dell business grew a robust 14 percent last year. "We're seeing a lot of willingness from Dell to partner on opportunities and collaborate from senior management all the way down to a one-on-one rep basis," he said. "We are seeing a tremendous amount of momentum."

Geier applauded Dell for its willingness to jump headfirst into fast-growing enterprise markets such as hyper-converged infrastructure with a Dell-Nutanix offering and a Dell-engineered solution for VMware EVO. "Dell-Nutanix is taking off like a rocket for us," he said. "It's great technology. It's saving customers a lot of money."

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