At Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas last month, the company announced $50 billion was generated by the channel last year. TBT caught up head of UK&I channel, Rob Tomlin, at the event to discuss Dell’s relationship with partners
TBT: You have been in your role at Dell Technologies for more than six months now [Rob was formerly UKI MD for distributor Tech Data] – is it different to what you were expecting and if so, how?
RT: It’s been everything I expected and more. In my previous roles, I had worked closely with the company and had always been struck by the committed and co-operative staff and their drive to make partner relationships a success.
Since moving into my role at Dell Technologies, my impression of the team and wider company has only heightened. Everyone has been so welcoming and it’s clear that from the top-down, there’s a real passion for what we do here.
TBT: What does Dell’s channel look like now? How has it evolved in recent years?
RT: When I joined, I inherited a very successful UKI channel business and I was determined to keep the momentum going and continue to propel it forwards. The recent Q4 IDC results show that the business continues to grow, and this is because our channel partners are winning with us, helping us to take larger shares in all lines of business.
TBT: What are partners’ thoughts on Dell selling directly to end customers? Do they see it as a threat?
RT: Our channel partners mean everything to us and when we make investments in the channel, we always ask how it can benefit them. Our end user sales teams are no different. With our Enterprise Preferred Channel Programme, they work side-by-side with our channel partners to simplify sales engagement and focus our efforts in the right places, creating a smooth, positive experience for the customer.
TBT: How does having such an expansive portfolio of products – gained through some big acquisitions in recent years – affect the Channel?
RT: In my opinion, it’s made Dell Technologies the most relevant vendor in the Channel today. Our portfolio of products has given our partners and customers the opportunity to work with a best of breed vendor from the edge to the core to the cloud with total confidence in our solutions and service. For the first time, they can work with the leading vendor in almost all lines of business and only liaise with one company.
What’s more, our expansive portfolio has allowed us to welcome many new partners from across our strategically aligned businesses [Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, Secureworks, Virtustream and VMware]. They now benefit from complete end-to-end solutions, while working with both our channel and end user sales teams to deliver the exact products they need.
TBT: Can you explain Dell’s efforts to simplify its engagement with partners, and the reasons behind that?
RT: As our channel business continues to grow, it is crucial that we continue to abide by and endorse the core principles of our partner programme: simple, predictable and profitable.
To be the best, we must always evaluate how we can develop our service and ensure we are listening to our partners on what they want to see improved. By simplifying our engagement with partners, we are sticking to our principles and providing a working environment primed for growth.
We spent a lot of time and investment in deal registration, and we’ve got more enhancements coming [around self-service and automation]. We’ve made it easier to register deals, easy to know what you’re going to earn, and you’ll know straight away whether it’s a deal, no deal or whether we’re already working on that opportunity with another partner.
TBT: Are there any updates or new initiatives being introduced for the Channel in the future that you can talk about?
RT: Over the coming months, we’re going to be very busy speaking to partners and customers about our cloud-centric announcements from Dell Technologies World. Our focus will be on driving our new products and solutions, making sure everyone has the chance to benefit from them.
This means working with VMware to provide a consistent user experience across the cloud and datacentre, bringing VMware cloud infrastructure to Microsoft Azure and managing Office 365 across devices via VMware Workspace ONE. It also means deploying our brand new PowerProtect data protection hardware and software, along with our entry-level DP440 integrated data protection appliance.