Dell’s Scannell On Channel And Sales Restructuring; Rola Dagher

Dell Technologies President Bill Scannell talks to CRN about realigning Dell’s global executive channel structure, its sales organization as well as why Rola Dagher was selected as the company’s new worldwide channel leader.


‘If You Don’t Have Alignment And Accountability, You Have Nothing’

Dell Technologies is realigning its global channel structure and transforming its sales organization around a strategy dubbed “One Dell Technologies” with the sole purpose of driving more revenue through channel partners, which already generate a whopping $52 billion in annual sales.

Bill Scannell, president of global sales and customer operations, is revamping the Round Rock, Texas-based infrastructure market leader’s global channel executive structure and sales organization to better fit Dell’s mantra of “simple, predictable and profitable.”

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“Now when I have my most senior sales leaders John Byrne and Aongus Hegarty also own the channel, then now I can hold them accountable for the success of the channel,” said Scannell in an interview with CRN. “So as we come up with our go-to-market strategy, vision and our programs–it’s not just [global channel chief] Rola [Dagher] and I saying, ‘The channel is important’—it’s every sales leader around the world saying, ‘OK, we got the marching orders. Now we’ll go execute and grow the business.’ So it’s much tighter alignment and accountability. In life, if you don’t have alignment and accountability, you have nothing.”

Scannell also talks to CRN about the process of selecting Dagher as the company’s new global channel leader. “We had lots of phenomenal choices inside and outside the company,” he said. “It became a very easy decision.”

What are you doing to better align Dell’s channel and sales leaders?

I wanted to take a look structurally around how to organize the channel for continued success and for hypergrowth. What I’m doing is we have channel leaders in the five regions around the world: China, APJ, EMEA, Latin America and North America. I made the decision that we’re going to align the regional channel leaders into the regional sales leaders who are the general managers. So [North America Channel Chief] Gregg Ambulos will now report to [President of North America Sales] John Byrne. Then we’ll have a similar structure internationally where we’re taking Diego Majdalani, our Latin America president, we are elevating Diego into the role of running our International Channels. He will report to [President of International Markets] Aongus Hegarty, who is John Byrne’s counterpart. Then the four regional channel leaders in those four regions—Latin America, EMEA, APJ and China—will report into Diego.

This allows us to have incredible size and scale like no other company in the industry. Under our ‘simple, predictable, profitable’ mission, it aligns the channel go-to-market and our sales go-to-market and puts everyone in alignment to drive further growth through the channel. As opposed to in the past where it was Joyce [Mullen] and her team, supported by me, now I’ve got all my sales leaders around the world with a vested interest in making sure we accelerate the growth of our channel.

Now is the time to get better alignment with the sales field and better alignment with the global channel chief. The combination of these two moves is going to help significantly accelerate our business.

Can you discuss the sales transformation Dell is going through, dubbed ‘One Dell Technologies?’

We’ve been going through this global sales transformation over the last six months ever since we consolidated our commercial business, which was led by Marius [Haas], and our enterprise sales organization that I was running. Now I’m in charge of both. We’ve been looking to simplify that go-to-market. We’ve made a lot of changes over the last six months. This change aligns perfectly with what we’re doing with the one team, One Dell Technologies. That’s what we’re going to do. We already reviewed it with our Titanium Black partners and they’re extremely excited about that change.

With the appointment of Rola Dagher (pictured), coupled with our work on sales transformation over the last six months around One Dell Technologies, I think we’re on the ride of our lives. Jump on and buckle your seatbelt because it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

Why are you realigning Dell’s global sales and channel organizational structure right now?

As we roll out our global channel strategy and the desired outcome, now I have the rest of my direct team and all their teams aligned to that strategy. They’re also on the hook for the execution. A lot of times people say, ‘Is Dell direct or is it channel?’ The answer is, we work with who make sense.

Now when I have my most senior sales leaders John Byrne and Aongus Hegarty also own the channel, then now I can hold them accountable for the success of the channel. So as we come up with our go-to-market strategy, our vision and our programs—it’s not just Rola and I saying, ‘The channel is important’—it’s every sales leader around the world saying, ‘OK, we got the marching orders. Now we’ll go execute and grow the business.’ So it’s much tighter alignment and accountability. In life, if you don’t have alignment and accountability, you have nothing.

How many people did you interview for the new global channel chief position?

We had big shoes to fill. We had a great bench inside the company and there was some real talent outside the company that I’ve come to know over the years. I was looking at top talent inside and top talent outside to pick the absolute best executive. That’s exactly what I did.

I started off with a list of over 10 people, most of whom were inside the company. I did have three names outside the company that I was interested in. I talked to all of those candidates. We had a panel of folks involved with the interviewing process along with myself. We quickly narrowed it down to three—two internal and one external candidate. I’m happy to say it was unanimous decision after meeting the candidates. Everyone thought the greatest person we could bring on board to be our new channel chief is Rola Dagher.

I always hire the top candidate—plain and simple. We had lots of phenomenal choices inside and outside the company. It became a very easy decision.

Why did you select Rola? What stood out?

The thing that jumped out at me about Rola was her passion, her track record of execution, an incredible desire to win—and not only to win, but win through the channel. She has tremendous executive presence, she’s a big strategic thinker and she has incredibly strong values. We had six of us going through the process of interviewing all the candidates and all six of us said, ‘Rola is our person.’

She joins us from Cisco where she was the president of Cisco Canada for the last three years. She has great experience under her belt. I got to know Rola shortly after Dell and EMC came together. Although we only worked together for a short period of time, I knew that our paths would cross again. I even told her that after she left Dell and saw each other at some point in time.

No doubt that John Byrne during the first two years of the combination of Dell and EMC did a great job. Then we had Joyce [Mullen] take over and she did a tremendous job. I have no doubt that Rola is going to take us to new heights. The person we chose for this role is going to demonstrate just how committed we are to our channel. To be able to recruit someone of Rola’s caliber and bring her back to the family speaks a lot about our commitment.

She has a track record of execution, which means getting things done. She does it with purpose, pride and passion. That’s our mantra.

Are there any other structural or executive changes channel partners should know about?

There are a couple of other slight changes. The OEM Group previously was under Joyce Mullen. I am promoting Kyle Dufresne, who previously ran the Global Client and Compute Group for me. I’m putting Kyle in that role to run global OEM. Kyle’s a more than 20-year veteran of Dell Technologies and has been on my staff since the Dell EMC combination four years ago. I’m excited to hand over the OEM reins to Kyle Dufresne. So Rola will be on my team, Kyle and Denise Millard.

Our Global Alliances Organization is led by [Senior Vice President] Denise Millard—no changes to that. When we have our Dell Technologies World, it will be Denise sharing that stage with Rola to talk about all the things we’re doing for global channels and global alliances. … That’s the high-level changes that we’re making.

How important are partners to Dell during the coronavirus pandemic, and how does this channel realignment help them?

We’ve accelerated customers’ digital growth by years over just the last six months because of COVID-19. We are now clearly a digital world and people are working remotely. They depend on Dell Technologies to help on the transformational side of the business. Transactions will never go away; we do more than anyone else in the world and that will continue.

But as we get into more and more of the transformation work around helping our customers with their IT transformation and multi-cloud strategies, and as we help our customers with workforce transformation, security transformation or digital transformation agendas—that’s what Dell Technologies has become over the past few years. Quite frankly, our partners are very good at both of those. Partners are very good at transactional business and they’re exceptionally strong at transformational business and being an adviser and trusted partner to our mutual customers. Rola is going to add significant value to that. That’s why her experience from Dell prior, from Cisco, from Bell Canada and now the new Dell Technologies—she’ll be able to have just a huge impact on our business through the channel.

What’s your message to Dell’s global channel partner ecosystem?

The channel has always been incredibly important, but over the last four years since Dell and EMC came together with VMware as Dell Technologies, we’ve grown our channel business significantly. Last year, it was over $52 billion.

In our first fiscal quarter this year, we grew the business over 6 percent [year over year], and that was the time when COVID-19 hit when lots of companies were challenged. So our business through the channel remains strong and we are committed to it. Our partners keep telling us, ‘Hey, we want you to make it simple, predictable and profitable.’ And that’s our mantra. We want a simple, predictable and profitable channel organization to build off.