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Bill Scannell: Dell Building Out Apex As-A-Service Channel Plan

“Apex was clearly a solution which was rolled out without the channel in mind,” said one top executive from Dell Titanium Black partner.

Amid channel conflict concerns, Dell Technologies President of Global Sales and Customer Operations Bill Scannell stressed that the company is firmly committed to working hand-in-hand with partners to drive Apex as-a-service deals.

“Very quickly, we’re going to make sure that we can transact Apex offerings through our channel partners,” he said.

Scannell said Apex “is the future” of the Round Rock, Texas-based company.

Dell followed the same route as some rivals when it brought the Apex as-a-service offering to market first as a direct play with plans to later bring partners onboard, Scannell said.

“We’re going to offer everything we do as-a-service. And just like some of my competitors when they first came out with their as-a-service offering, they didn’t have the ability to transact that through the channel partner—it had to be direct, and then they gave a back-end bonus.”

[Related: Dell Partner Account Manager Exodus Is Exacerbating Channel Conflict]

Dell told CRN that all U.S. channel partners now can resell, in addition to hosting and referrals, Apex offerings including Apex Data Storage Services, Apex Hybrid Cloud Services and Apex Private Cloud. Dell Technologies Solution Providers and Storage Authorized Distributors in the U.S. may resell Apex Data Storage Services through the Apex Console.

Dell provides a back-end bonus at up to 30 percent of the deal that is “much more lucrative” than competitive offerings, Scannell said.

Dell executives have also said partners can drive recurring revenue with Apex by adding “higher-value” services such as data migration, hybrid cloud extension, application specific services and consulting.

Scannell’s pledge to make sure Dell is working hand in hand with partners to sell Apex comes in the wake of complaints from some partners that the offering was launched as a direct play before partners could even sell it.

“Apex was clearly a solution which was rolled out without the channel in mind,” said a top executive from Dell Titanium Black partner who has been caught off guard by Dell Apex as-a-service proposals to his customers. “Dell takes all the services. Dell provides them a portal, which the partner doesn’t have access to. Dell’s going back to try to fix it right now, but it wasn’t created for the channel.”

One top executive from a different Dell Titanium Black partner said Dell’s direct team went behind his company’s back this year to pitch Apex.

“It’s like they almost wanted to have like a window of opportunity to pitch it directly until the channel program was figured out,” said the executive. “So then all of a sudden, they started pitching it everywhere directly.”

One top executive from a Platinum partner said Dell’s direct sales team recently unexpectedly pitched Apex during a joint customer engagement. The partner had provided nearly all of Dell’s portfolio, including large VxRail installations and its own services, to the long-time customer.

“[The customer] does everything with us and basically has bought the entire Dell portfolio. Yet, we’re in with our customer and doing all these things with them, and here was Dell’s direct team pitching Apex … right in front of us,” said executive. “This is not a channel-friendly play.”

When asked about this particular instance, Scannell replied: “That probably wasn’t the best pre-sales call planning there because we should never surprise a channel partner in front of a customer. But we should offer the customers what they want.

“I just had a customer right before my call with [CRN] and they said, ‘Hey, we want to buy everything as-a-service. Can you do that?’ And we said, ‘Yes, we can.’ I can’t say no,’” said Scannell.

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