5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Feb. 7

This week's roundup of companies that came to win includes Dell fulfilling its promise to turn many direct accounts over to the channel, a key acquisition by Dimension Data, channel program advancements by ShoreTel and ASG Software, and a new twist on service and maintenance programs by a hot flash storage array company.

Dell Prepares To Turn Direct Accounts Over To Partners

Making good on a promise move 200,000 or more direct customer accounts to the channel, Dell this week launched a revamped partner program that provides incentives for Dell Direct reps to work closely with hundreds of partners.

Recently named channel chief Cheryl Cook said Dell sales reps have begun working with hundreds of partners to move between 200,000 and 500,000 Dell Direct accounts into the channel where they would be jointly managed by partners and Dell Direct reps. The channel push includes such incentives as a 20 percent "compensation accelerator" for sales reps to generate new enterprise business with partners in key product areas such as networking, storage, software, security, PowerEdge VRTX, thin clients and workstations.

Channel partners told CRN they are investing in new hires, including project managers and implementation consultants, in anticipation of the expected new business. Dell also has lined up financial institutions GE Capital and Wells Fargo to offer extended payment terms for channel partners.

Dimension Data Eyes European Expansion With Acquisition

Dimension Data this week said it is acquiring European solution provider NextiraOne for an undisclosed sum in a move that will grow Dimension Data's geographical presence and get it closer to its goal of doubling its revenue over the next five years.

This year Dimension Data will acquire NextiraOne's businesses in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and the U.K. In 2015 Dimension Data will take possession of Nextira's businesses in France and Italy

The acquisition brings 1,850 skilled employees to Dimension Data and more than 43,000 private and public sector customers in Europe. The move also makes Dimension Data a more attractive solution provider for businesses with global operations.

ShoreTel Offers Partners Cloud VoIP Services Opportunities

ShoreTel this week gave its roughly 600 North American channel partners the go-ahead to sell the ShoreTel Sky suite of cloud-based VoIP services. And the vendor has created a new, three-tiered cloud partner program to fuel the initiative.

The new Champion Partner Program offers partner training resources for selling cloud solutions and assistance with transitioning to a recurring revenue model.

Until now only about 160 solution providers, those that came to ShoreTel with its 2012 M5 acquisition have been working with the Sky service. (M5's technology was the foundation for Sky.) But the rest of ShoreTel's partners have been champing at the bit to sell Sky and ShoreTel's moves now make that not just possible, but an attractive opportunity.

Pure Storage Plays The Market Disrupter Role With New Service Program

Pure Storage debuted its Forever Flash maintenance and service fee program that the manufacturer of all-flash storage arrays said will significantly reduce the customers' cost of keeping storage technology up-to-date.

Under the program customers have the option of getting free controller upgrades as part of their maintenance and service contracts, or preventing increases in fees related to those contracts by simply upgrading controllers or capacity.

Michelle Graff, director of worldwide channel programs and marketing at Pure Storage , told CRN that channel partners will benefit from the new program because it provides opportunities to broaden upgrade discussions with customers by including spending for capital expense and operating expenses. The program also will make it easier for partners to sell and renew maintenance contracts, Graff said, and improve customer retention through customer savings.

ASG Expands Cloud Opportunities For Channel Partners

ASG Software, which once relied exclusively on direct sales, is ramping up its channel offensive to sell its cloud management, content optimization and big data software.

While ASG has focused on mainframe software for most of the time since its 1986 founding, the company in recent years has made an aggressive push into cloud software. And it's counting on the channel to help.

Earlier this month the company hired Michael Mayer, previously the channel chief at Peer 1 Hosting, as its vice president of system integrator and channel for North America. He works with Barbara Spicek, the former Brocade channel chief who is now ASG's senior vice president of global system integrator and channel sales.