Dell EMC Channel Chief John Byrne On Dell's New 'Spectacular' IoT Partner Program

Dell's IoT Push

Dell Technologies Tuesday sent a message to customers and partners: Dell and its plethora of businesses are taking the Internet of Things very seriously. The company has unveiled a new IoT Division aimed at providing solutions for IoT and edge computing, as well as a new IoT Partner Program to go with it. What's already available to partners are Dell's Edge Gateway products, while other IoT products unveiled by Dell will be available to partners over time, according to the company.

During Dell's IoT Strategy Day in New York Tuesday, Dell EMC Channel Chief John Byrne sat down with CRN to discuss the emerging opportunities for partners within Dell's IoT initiative. What follows is an excerpt of CRN's interview with Byrne.

What do you want Dell partners to know about the company's IoT push?

I think what we've done today is pretty spectacular -- creating a brand-new business unit, creating a new vision for where we're going on IoT. We've always spoken about the gateway -- now we have a real vision and real focus. One other good thing is, obviously, this isn't a surprise to us. So when we brought the [partner] program together back in February, we purposely had an OEM track, where we had our Titanium, Platinum and Gold partners. And our IoT [initiative] will fit right into that OEM track, and receive all the relevant benefits from it. So, we saw it coming.

In particular, where can Dell partners get involved? What IoT products are available right now?

All of the [edge] gateways -- we're already working with select and relevant partners, but also working with a couple of major distributors. So stay tuned.

There are vendors that Dell is already partnering with on IoT initiatives, but is this essentially the first time solution providers are part of an IoT partner program?

Absolutely. As I mentioned in the beginning, it's part of our OEM track. So what we're now looking at is additional partners who want to play in IoT products, many of them are actually already Titanium, and this is just adding another line of business into the program. They're going to receive rich rebates, they're going to receive MDF, all of the incentives that we've asked them to do -- this is just another layer to make a lot of money. … You can come in at any [tier]. There'll be criteria associated with each of the tiers.

How does this fit in with all the other things you want partners to be doing?

We came together as one channel organization in February, eight short months ago. When you think about our channel business now, let's look at how we're growing. Michael [Dell, pictured] said on stage yesterday [at the Best of Breed Conference], our channel now across Dell Technologies is $43 billion. Our channel business is growing in double digits. We asked the partners, we really want you to grow your top line, in double digits. And we want you to grow your bottom line. We asked them to sell more lines of business. If you look at our partners now, we've gone from 1.6 lines of business to 2.4 lines of business. Eighty percent of our partners now are selling storage and server, 22 percent of them have added an additional line of business since the program came together. We asked them to attach more services, and services are up double digits. … If you look at the relevant results of our partners, our client business is up double digits, our server business is up 22 percent. I don't think the market is up 22 percent. We're No. 1 in storage, No. 1 in all-flash, we just became No. 1 in hyper-converged -- all because of our partners. Now again, about IoT -- this is just the next part of our journey.

Overall, how do you characterize the Dell IoT opportunity for partners?

More nodes mean more data. And more data is getting closer to the edge. It's just another endorsement of our end-to-end portfolio. We talk about how we want to be No. 1 of everything, all in one place -- it's just another thing we're bringing to the market.

So IoT is not necessarily a separate thing for partners to take on -- it's about selling more storage, etc?

Absolutely. It all comes together. That's again why we want our partners to be selling much more of our portfolio. As you think about the transformational journeys that we're on, from digital to IT to workforce to security, IoT plays on a couple of those tracks. We want all of our partners selling all of that portfolio.

On the IoT partner program, do you feel like Dell is the first major IT vendor to do something like this?

I've been so focused on what we need to do that I've been less focused on what our competitors are doing. ... We knew [the IoT initiative] was coming. As we were thinking about our partner ecosystem, we had a good idea of which partners would want to come on the journey with us. We certainly knew which distributors wanted to come with us. What you'll see is us refining it, refining it, getting better for next year. It's just another part of the evolution of our journey.