Dell Launches New Partner Program: 8 Biggest Changes

From new storage incentives to combining cloud service providers and OEMs into the program, here are the eight biggest things to know about Dell Technologies’ new partner program for fiscal year 2023.

Dell Unveils Partner Program For FY23

Dell Technologies‘ fiscal year 2023 partner program is here with several changes in store for Dell’s massive channel community.

The biggest changes to Dell’s partner program this year show how the Round Rock, Texas-based infrastructure giant is expanding its partner ecosystem for cloud service providers and OEMs, doubling down on storage incentives, focusing on driving as-a-service sales, and is investing more channel dollars in fiscal year 2023 compared to last year.

“We have a robust reseller ecosystem operating in a traditional capex model who have impeccable momentum right now. We have emerging and evolving partners co-engineering around OEM, edge and telecom. These partners have positioned us for the future,” said Rola Dagher, Dell Technologies’ global channel chief, in an interview with CRN. “We have partners who have been providing managed services with Dell infrastructure long before as-a-service was cool. And those are the partners we’re seeing providing so much more value than just shift-and-lift. We have distributors who are growing to double-digit rates and they’re helping us deliver for our partners every day. Our unmatched scale and reach allow us to listen, learn and lead.”

CRN breaks down the eight biggest things channel partners need to know about Dell’s new partner program for fiscal year 2023, which runs from Feb. 2022 to Feb. 2023.

Dell Combines All Cloud, OEM And Channel Partner Ecosystem Together

Dell Technologies fiscal year 2023 partner program is not only focused on solution providers, but for cloud service providers and OEM partners.

The new program will have one incentive structure, one tier structure and one set of tier requirements for all Dell solution providers, cloud services providers (CSPs) and OEM’s partners.

“Whether or not a partner is a solution provider, a cloud service provider, or an OEM partner, or a combination of these tracks—they will have one streamlined experience. They will be one incentive structure with consistent rebate rates across regions, and one set of requirements across solution provider, CSPs and OEMs,” said Dell’s Dagher (pictured). “These changes will allow partners to position the best solution for their customers and continue to earn consistent, lucrative incentives regardless of their route to market that they have used in the past.”

The move aims to increase financial benefits for partners who host as cloud services providers, while creating consistency across selling motions such as embedding, reselling and hosting.

“The line between the VARs, CSPs, MSPs are blurring. So there is an increase in projects involving more than one partner influencers when it comes to ISVs that are becoming a part of the overall partner ecosystem. They’re building joint solutions with traditional partners,” said Dagher. “There will basically be one structure. That’s huge because there will be no confusion.”

‘No Changes’ To Deal Registration Or Rules Of Engagement

Many Dell Technologies’ partners last year told CRN their concerns regarding Dell’s deal registration process and rules of engagement in terms of how Dell’s internal sales team interacts and works with the channel. Some of Dell’s top channel partners, including Titanium-tiered partners, said there are instances where Dell’s 27,000-strong direct sales force is trying to steal new customer opportunities, particularly through controversial deal registration rejections.

When questioned if there are any changes to Dell’s deal registration process or rules of engagement in the partner program this year, Dagher said there will be “no changes” to the rules and strategies.

No changes,” said Dagher. “Unchanged.”

‘No Change’ To Dell’s Direct Sales Compensation Strategy

Last year, Dell Technologies President of Global Sales Bill Scannell *pictured) said the company’s direct sales compensation strategy is channel-neutral, meaning, “we don’t pay Dell sellers more or less” if it goes through the channel or “if we have a direct relationship with the customer.”

“Our strategy is to grow faster than the market and through all routes to market—whether it’s directly with our customers, or through our partners, or through our alliance partners,” said Scannell. “That’s across the entire portfolio.”

When asked if Dell’s direct sales compensation strategy had changed from being channel neutral, Dagher said there’s “no change” in the strategy.

“There has been a no change since the last time you spoke to Billy [Scannell] about that. We’re still focusing on the go-to-market strategy, on our customers, and our partners, and the channel numbers are great. But there’s no updates from the last time that Bill shared the information with you,” she said. “We’re absolutely focused on number one: our partners, customers and the success that we’re seeing.”

Investing More Channel Dollars In FY23 Than FY22

Dell told CRN it will spend more investment dollars into the channel in fiscal year 2023 compared to fiscal year 2022.

“More than ever, we continue to invest in the channel. The channel is becoming over 50 percent of Dell’s business. There is no doubt about it whatsoever, we are investing more [in the channel in fiscal year 2023 compared to fiscal year 2022],” said Dagher. “In addition to all the partner incentive increases, we’re also investing in the partner experience which is huge. We spend millions of dollars to invest in tools, capabilities to support the online self-service, the best pricing and faster pricing to market, the quote—all of it.”

Dagher highlighted large investments in the partner experience slated for fiscal year 2023, including automating Tech Refresh and better quoting tools, as areas of channel investments this year.

“So it’s all about winning, and winning a lot faster with a much better partner experience for all of our partners. That is our goal.

New Partner Incentives

Dell launched several new partner incentives aimed at driving profitability in midrange storage, client systems and VMware solutions.

The worldwide storage market share leader launched of a new five-times tier accelerator for channel partners who sell midrange storage solutions, with a focus on PowerStore.

In another move to drive new midrange storage deals, Dell is giving partners a new 2 percent incremental rebate for customer acquisition and technology refresh opportunities.

To continue Dell’s historic client sales growth, Dell client displays and peripherals deals are now eligible for Dell’s New Business Incentive (NBI) program. The move to expand the NBI to include displays and peripherals is to support engagement across Dell’s entire portfolio and encourage cross-sell motions.

The company also opened up access for all medal-tiered Dell partners to sell VMware software licenses. For the first time, solution provider—regardless of whether their Gold, Platinum or Titanium partners—will now be able to resell VMware licenses and achieve rebates.

Apex ‘Earnings Opportunities’ The Same As Capex Resale

Cheryl Cook, Dell’s senior vice president of Global Partner Marketing, said partners selling Dell Apex as-a-service solutions have the same earnings opportunities as they would selling traditional Dell products.

“Rebates for partners are going to be available for referral or resell, similar to how they earn on new business on storage today,” said Cook. “For partners, it’s this notion of your earnings potential is the same—whether your customers move to consumption-based models on Apex or capex resale—it lives from a framework within the program the same and their earnings opportunities is the same. … The earnings opportunity is equal to Capex.”

Dell’s Cook said there’s huge opportunities for partners to integrated their own services into Apex.

“Specific to services and the console, we actually think it’s a tremendous opportunity for our partners to complement and add their own unique services integrated into the console. We’ve openly said we’re going to give API integrations for them, so they can actually manage that relationship and experience with their end customers,” said Cook. “There‘s tremendous opportunity for the partners to extend their unique industry and vertical capabilities, workload and outcome-centric unique skills that they have relative to software they’re deploying with these solutions.”

Although no specific details were unveiled regarding Dell’s as-a-service Apex strategy in the new fiscal year, executives said partners can expect the company to continue to expand Apex outcome offerings and resale availability throughout 2022.

Investments In OSC And Partner Experience Center

Dell has invested in streamlining the partner Online Solutions Configurator (OSC) tool. Dell’s OSC aims to improve the ability for channel partners to get better configuration, pricing and quotes on solutions.

“From a partner experienced perspective, the OSC investment that we’ve made and the dedicated resources we’re putting to streamline the Partner Experience Center, which will be basically a group that just focuses on our partners and quoting processes, [will make it] a lot quicker and more streamlined in the market,” said Dagher.

Dell’s Partner Experience Center provides support services to channel partners around tools, the partner portal and technical support.

‘Three Pillars’ To Partner Program Vision For Next Three Years

Overall, Dell’s worldwide channel chief says the company is focused on “three pillars” moving forward, including trust with solution providers and distributors.

“Our partner vision for the coming years is based on three pillars which is what’s guiding us and the foundation of the success that we’re going to see in the next three years. Number one is trust with partners and distributors by driving strong collaboration,” said Dagher.

“Number two is, ‘How do we continue to maximize growth by focusing on end user acquisition, driving cross-sell and accelerating the data center of the future,’” she said. “Third is, ‘How do we continue to accelerate transformation by enabling channel consumption models.’ We are accelerating our Dell Technologies platform in transforming channel programs.”

Dagher, who spent three years as president of Cisco in Canada before joining Dell in 2020, said she had her “best year of my career in the channel” at Dell.

“But the most important thing for me is, ‘how do we continue to listen to our partner and build the program of the future with our partners?’—and that is what FY23 is to us. 2022 is going to be one of the best years to continue to develop these programs that our partners and customers are looking for that are going to accelerate them in the market,” said Dagher.