Dell pleased with performance in first year of software integration into PartnerDirect

Since Dell Software's integration into PartnerDirect, the company says growth, deal registration and training levels have all increased significantly.

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Marvin Blough, executive director of Worldwide Channels and Alliances for Dell Software

A year ago, Dell updated its PartnerDirect channel program to add the first four software competencies to its existing five hardware-focused competencies, reflecting the growth of Dell Software following the accumulation of software companies through acquisition and their organization into a focused software division. Now the company is announcing statistical metrics that indicate Dell Software is growing at a strong clip, and that partners are taking advantage of the opportunity to use Dell Software to offer more complete Dell end-to-end solutions.

“Dell over the past few years has undergone a transformation to an end-to-end solution provider,” said Marvin Blough, executive director of Worldwide Channels and Alliances for Dell Software. “A lot of acquisitions – 11 or 12 – ultimately became the Dell Software Group. Each of them had a varying level of channel go-to-market, which varied from SonicWall at 100% channel, to Quest at 50% to AppAssure, which was almost none. A year ago they all moved into PartnerDirect, with the four new specializations in data protection, security, systems management, and information management.” Dell later added an advanced competency in network security.

A year later, Blough said that they are more than satisfied with the results. Nearly 60 per cent of Dell Software’s global sales volume goes through the channel, compared with 35 per cent of Dell’s total business. That represents a 15 per cent revenue growth year over year, with information management, at 42 per cent, and systems management, at 20 per cent, posting the strongest growth.

“It has worked out really well for us,” Blough said. “The channel business in Dell Software is growing faster than our legacy business.”

Blough said that since software was integrated into the PartnerDirect program, both deal registration and training have increased.

“Deal registration in software is up 61% year over year,” he said. “Deal registration is especially important for Dell partners because in addition to being protected against other partners, it also means they don’t have to compete against Dell direct.” The value of those registered deals also grew 32 per cent quarter over quarter.

Blough indicated that since last September, almost 11,000 individuals from over 3,500 partner organizations had completed more than 37,000 Dell Software training courses. Dell Software also reported a 102 per cent increase in software course completions globally by partners to date in fiscal year 2015, with a 50 per cent increase in unique individuals taking the courses quarter over quarter. The two most popular training competencies were data protection and security, which accounted for 40 and 27 per cent of the training courses completed respectively.

Dell has also begun to bundle its software offerings into its own hardware products to provide them with differentiation, initially with the bundling of Credant desktop security and encryption software to provide a more robust security offering, and most recently with a scaled down version of its KACE K1000 systems management software in new Latitude notebooks.

“Dell will utilize the technology from these acquisitions to make products more complete, and you will see that bundling happen in more and more ways,” Blough said. “We think that’s a differentiator, that differentiates our hardware lines from other people.”

Blough, who used to run SonicWall, said that company had the most difficult integration of all the acquisitions.

“Historically, SonicWall was 100% channel, and when we were acquired lots of partners were concerned because Dell has a mixed model,” he said. “There was some disruption in the channel, but we worked through that, and we are now seeing growth within security partners at Dell because we demonstrated we wanted the security business to be a channel business. Dell has expanded this beyond what SonicWall could have done on their own. We are gaining market share, but it’s a battle.”

“We are also bringing back the [old SonicWALL] Peak Performance event, the first time it’s ever been held under the Dell flag,” said Christine McDermott, Senior Director, Global Partner Marketing, Dell Software. “It’s in Orlando in October, and we have over 600 solution providers registered. It’s a tremendous opportunity for Dell to win partners back.”