Dell Channel Chief: Dell Will Come Out Of Coronavirus Pandemic ‘Stronger And More Effective Than Ever’

Dell Channel Chief Joyce Mullen talks about helping partners today and empowering them for tomorrow.


Joyce Mullen, president of global channel, embedded and edge solutions at Dell Technologies, says the coronavirus pandemic has changed almost everything as to how we go about our home and business lives.

What it hasn’t changed, however, is Dell’s commitment to partners.

‘We are absolutely ensuring that we have their backs,’ Mullen says in an interview with CRN.

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How have partners stepped up to the plate to help customers through the coronavirus pandemic?

There are a whole bunch of new skills, capabilities and infrastructure design elements that many customers hadn’t really considered or hadn’t prioritized before this. Our partners are filling in those gaps. They’re helping them figure out how to move from where they are today to where they want to be, which is obviously a more flexible operating environment that works when people are remote. Those skills and capabilities to understand how to do that—from web conferencing to networking gear and the infrastructure to back it up—all of that is in the wheelhouse of partner capabilities. We also know that for education, government or health-care institutions there is some very specific knowledge required to support those environments in this new world order. So the expertise that our partners have around those industries and specific requirements is invaluable at this stage.

Coronavirus has accelerated remote working initiatives. How prepared is Dell Technologies?

We’ve had a work-from-home strategy at Dell for about 10 years. ... We have the opportunity and advantage to practice on our own team members with what we’ve been putting together now for customers for the last several years, but obviously at an expedited pace in the last couple of months. I’m also really proud of our supply chain team. Nobody anticipated this demand, but we have increased capacity in our supply chain and have been working through supply chain scenarios over the past year because of all the other things going on— everything from tariffs to tornadoes. So our supply chain is strong and resilient to handle this. We have a bunch of capability in that space that is quite critical and it’s a skill set we’ll continue to build out.

How are you enabling partners to have effective work-from-home strategies?

We have some best practices that we put together to share with partners and customers about how all of that works. Everybody is trying to figure out how to make sure equipment gets into the hands of the people who need it. For example, the first step was for every student to try to get a Chromebook. After a while, you realize you might need to build out capabilities more effectively. So you might need a bigger monitor depending on your job or maybe a docking station or more support. We’ve been fielding questions around that and put together some good solutions including VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure]. Now we’re hearing about interest in business continuity and security because the threat surface is now bigger so [we’re focusing on how] we make sure our teams are protected and our data is protected through a broader threat surface. I feel we have a good handle on what it takes to work effectively from home. We’re sharing that through the bundles and solutions we’ve been building for our customers, and we’re backing that up with a very diverse and capable supply chain.

What does the future look like for Dell Technologies and for your partners after the coronavirus pandemic?

We’re hosting digital Partner Advisory Boards, digital CTO events, our Heroes training events are better attended than ever before because of digital access. We’re very optimistic about how we continue this type of digital engagement going forward. We are focused now more than ever on helping our partners build digital marketing capabilities. We’re thinking there’s some good that can come out of this. We’re making sure we’re listening really effectively and putting together the right kind of process and programmatic changes to demonstrate we’re here to help them. How can we help partners today, but then how do we empower them and also build pipeline, solutions and capabilities together for the future? Because there will be an end to this. The idea is that we will come out the other side more efficient, stronger and more effective than ever.