Michael Dell To Partners: 'Enormous Cross-Selling Opportunities For You'

From the beginning, the Dell EMC partner program has emphasized selling across the vendor's broad portfolio, and Chairman and CEO Michael Dell drove the point home for solution providers on Monday.

"Don't forget to learn about the broad set of capabilities we have," Dell urged during a brief appearance at the Dell EMC Global Partner Summit at the Dell EMC World conference in Las Vegas. "There are enormous cross-selling opportunities for you. No matter what point you start in your journey with us, we have additional things for you to go sell and additional parts of the solution. We're looking forward to growing relationships with you and creating meaningful impact for our customers."

The summit drew some 4,000 partners, compared to the 1,500 that attended in October, when the conference was held in Austin, Texas, just weeks after Dell's landmark $58 billion acquisition of EMC.

Dell took the stage with Channel Chief John Byrne to tell partners about the opportunities and challenges in front of them, and to reaffirm the company's commitment to the channel.

"You are integral to our business and to our go-to-market," Dell said. "When we think about the evolution of our solutions and the capabilities that we have, you all play an enormous role in bringing those solutions out and making them real for our customers. It is an incredibly exciting time in IT right now."

Byrne made a point during Monday's presentation to acknowledge that the company had got off to a bumpy start with some aspects of its new, integrated channel program launched in early February. The partner portal was not up and running when it was expected, it struggled to align its field teams, and its MDF program was more complex than it should have been, Byrne said.

"I want to thank you all for trusting us," Dell said. "We put this together and we said, 'Hey, come along with us on this journey,' and it's working out really well. I think it's an enormous opportunity for all of you as partners. The innovation we're driving in our R&D engine, which is really on full blast, we continue to create a tremendous number of innovations that combined together allow our customers to address these big transformational opportunities."

Dell also encouraged partners to seize upon the opportunities created by customers' move away from seeing IT primarily as a hardware purchase and toward a strategy that views IT as essential for improving efficiency, value and profitability.

"You have to start always from the perspective of the customer," Dell said. "What is the customer trying to accomplish? This digital transformation is real. Our customers are really challenged and really struggling with just the beginning of it. They know they have to re-image and reinvent their businesses, and that requires all kinds of capabilities, skills, software, infrastructure, security, even the end-user products in the workplace are changing. Helping customers along that journey and evolving your own capabilities is how your business continues to succeed."

Matt Johnson, vice president of sales at Davenport Gropu, a St. Paul, Minn.-based partner that before the EMC acquisition was a Dell-only partner, said the cross-selling opportunity Dell described had become a large part of the solution provider's growth plan.

"They talked about the cross-selling opportunity, and we're getting a lot of positive traction right now," Johnson said. "The opportunity to start introducing products like Isilon, or Unity, that's what where we're seeing the largest opportunity. Over the years, we've had the opportunity to bring on a lot of net-new clients. What this acquisition has meant for us is the ability to go back in and have a whole new discussion with them. That for us is a major, major push to stay with those clients and to introduce them to the EMC portfolio. It's about making sure our customers are aware of the breadth of services and products the organization brings together."

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