Dell’s Vitagliano Looks to Build Strategic Partners

New Dell channel sales chief Frank Vitagliano

New Dell channel sales chief Frank Vitagliano

On his first day at his new job as vice president of channel sales for North America at Dell, Frank Vitagliano said his priorities include ensuring partner profitability, streamlining partnering processes, and streamlining co-ordination between the channel and Dell’s field.

Vitagliano was introduced into his new role late last week, after more than six years as channel chief at Juniper Networks. He said that as his new employer continues on its years-long journey to transform itself from a PC maker to an enterprise IT company, the company has a unique opportunity to be a bigger part of its major partners’ businesses.

“I want Dell to be an absolutely strategic partner and a strategic vendor to our channel partners,” Vitagliano said. “That’s the way we continue to grow, and we add the most value to both the partner and the customer.”

Like most channel executives new to a company, Vitagliano said for the first 30 to 60 days, most of his time will be spent meeting with the company’s top partners, understanding their businesses and their needs, and trying to root out exactly what those partners need to consider Dell a more strategic partner.

But regardless of what he finds on that fact-finding mission, Vitagliano said partners can expect three things from him.

  • “I think we want to grow our mutual revenue and profitability,” he said, adding that making business more profitable for partners has always been his number one key to success with partners.
  • He said the company needs to “continue to commit to making investments in programs, in processes” and that if there’s anything he’s observed from the outside that the company needs to do to succeed in the channel, it’s simplification. “We can do better in terms of ease of doing business,” he said. Particularly, that means making sure that Dell’s myriad enterprise acquisitions over the last few years are well integrated into PartnerDirect.
  • Vitagliano said the company needs to make sure its direct sales team “work seamlessly with” the company’s partner community.

And at the same time, the company “needs to over-communicate” about all of the above, something that he believes will go a long way to encouraging channel partners to take on that more strategic relationship that he wants to build.

“I want partners to build their businesses on Dell, and they can’t do that unless they’re comfortable with our plans and our strategies,” he said.

In Vitagliano’s new role, he reports to Greg Davis, Dell’s global channel chief, with whom he worked at IBM prior to Vitagliano’s run at Juniper, and Davis’ at Dell. He said he’s watched Dell’s development in the channel over the last five-plus years, and been impressed. When he came on at Juniper, Vitagliano’s job was to ramp up the company’s channel business. He said he feels no such pressure to build or re-architect the channel program at Dell, but just to continue along the course the company has been pursuing.

“They’ve gone from a cold start to a bona fide channel business in a short time,” he said. “I want to figure out what I can add to that, add to the programs that have been made, and figure out a way to become a more strategic vendor to our partners as we continue to grow.”

With Vitagliano coming on, Jim Defoe, who has served as vice president of channel sales over the last two years, will move into a new role heading up Dell’s business with global Systems Integrators, DMRs, and very large VARs in North America, while the rest of the VAR community and other channel partners will fall under Vitagliano.