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Dell Partners Reaping 20 Percent Margins On PowerStore Deals

‘We are now targeting an average margin for our partners at 20 points with PowerStore,’ says Scott Millard, senior vice president of global channel, alliances and OEM specialty sales at Dell Technologies.

Dell Technologies is looking to open up the storage floodgates via the channel by providing partners with a 20 percent margin on PowerStore deals, along with a new Deal Desk partner support service to help drive more PowerStore wins.

“The partners have spoken to us and said, ‘Hey, we’d really like to see a more predictable and profitable margin,’” said Scott Millard, senior vice president, global channel, alliances and OEM specialty sales in an interview with CRN. “We are now targeting an average margin for our partners at 20 points with PowerStore. … We know how critical it is that we work with partners to continue to grow our share and market leadership. The partners have told us these are investments we need to make, so we’re listening.”

Launched in May, Dell already has shipped over 300 PowerStore units to over 40 countries, according to Millard. PowerStore has clocked over 200,000 run hours with six-nines availability being reported as well as more than 26 PB deployed in less than six months.

Effective this week, Dell partners can now achieve 20 percent margin on an entire PowerStore deal through a combination of back-end and front-end rebates with approved deal registration.

Stephen Ayoub, president of AHEAD, a Chicago-based solution provider powerhouse that is one of Dell’s largest channel partners, said the new 20 percent PowerStore margins will push his company to double down on selling Dell’s flagship midrange storage line.

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“By Dell ensuring PowerStore deals are profitable for partners, this is just a great way to get our team focused on positioning this product to solve customer needs,” said Ayoub.

Ayoub said AHEAD has already sold PowerStore to several customers and will look to reinvest the new 20 percent profit margin into providing more services. “We can reinvest these profits to provide the customer with additional services to ensure their success,” he added.

He also said Dell’s new dedicated Deal Desk enables AHEAD to “react quickly” to customers’ needs as well as to make sure “we are competitive in the market.”

Dell’s new Deal Desk is a help desk consisting of partner support specialists ready to help partners close PowerStore deals any way they can.

“If the partners are having trouble getting to that winning price and making that target margin, we’ve created a Deal Desk to help them quickly get to a resolution. It’s a team of partner support specialists that know where to go to get the answers quick for the partners,” said Millard. “They know how to coordinate across our end-user sales teams, our finance and pricing decision teams, our technical teams maybe just to validate that the configuration was billed correctly depending on who we are competing with. So they very quickly just assess the escalation and help determine what path we need to go down to help the partner get to that winning price and make that 20-point target margin.”

In another move to boost PowerStore sales via channel partners, Dell has implemented changes to its internal direct sales force to drive more partner engagement. Dell has created a compensation-neutral plan that lets Dell’s direct sales teams make the same compensation on PowerStore deals if they leverage a partner who is using a discounted price.

“Dell end-user sales teams will make the same quota and commission if they do a deal with a partner at the lower discounted price as if they were to do a direct deal. So we are really making it comp-neutral for direct versus a channel deal at a deeper discount,” said Millard. “In the past, the deeper discount or transfer price for the partner, that can impact quota and commission—we’re making that comp-neutral now. That should help facilitate partner engagement.”

PowerStore is Dell’s midrange all-flash storage platform built from the ground up. It is a scale-up, scale-out container-based architecture with built-in future-proof technology to address the challenges of an ever-increasing number of workloads.

With built-in machine learning and automation, PowerStore is a programmable infrastructure that aims to streamline application development and reduce deployment time from days to seconds with VMware integration and support for orchestration frameworks including Ansible, VMware vRealize Orchestrator and Kubernetes. The storage offering has a machine-learning engine to optimize performance and reduce cost by automating labor-intensive processes like initial volume placement, migrations, load balancing and issue resolution. PowerStore recommends where to best place data.

PowerStore also contains Dell’s container-based software architecture, PowerStoreOS, that allows for top-notch deployment flexibility by enabling feature portability, standardization and rapid time-to-market for new capabilities. Another major feature is Dell EMC’s CloudIQ, which provides proactive monitoring and predictive analytics inside PowerStore.

“PowerStore is out of the gate strong. Business is off to the races,” said Millard. “Partners are driving the majority of that business. So this is a big ‘thank you’ to the partners.”

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