Dell launches first wave of its Internet of Things Partner program for ISVs

Dell has formally launched a program with about 25 ISVs, but also makes it clear this is a pretty basic first step. Several months down the line they say there will be more useful functionality for partners, and also a lot more of them.

Shepherd Headshot

Jason Shepherd, Director of IoT Strategy and Partnerships, Dell

Dell has announced the formal launch of the Dell Internet of Things [IoT] Solutions Partner Program, an ISV program designed to facilitate partner collaboration with Dell on IoT solutions, and eventually, to assist their collaboration with each other.

“We have been building out our Internet of Things strategy, with the objective of being the leading infrastructure for Internet of Things solutions,” said Jason Shepherd, Director of IoT Strategy and Partnerships, Dell.

Shepherd said that the IoT marketplace today has many opportunities, but is also fragmented and unclear.

“There is an urgent need for more clarity in a market that’s pretty fragmented right now, and which can be tricky to navigate,” he said. “There are so many opportunities that that can be paralyzing in itself, and there are so many people involved it can be hard to determine who is the best partner. There is a huge need in the IoT for partnerships, and we see our role as helping to curate that community of those partners aligned to our strategy.”

At launch, the program has 25 members, including GE, Microsoft, OSISoft, SAP and Software AG. Additional partners include Azeti, Datawatch, Eigen Innovations, Flow Control, Flutura, Lynx Software, Relayr and Thingworx.

“We have been working with a bunch of different technology partners around IoT for some time,” Shepherd said. “We have been onboarding partners and developing relationships and program structures behind the scenes, and are now formally launching the program, to curate a community of domain experts.”

Shepherd acknowledged that the program at this stage is pretty bare bones in comparison to the plans where it will be at in just a few months’ time.

“At this official launch, we will have the website in place as well as outbound collateral,” he said. “In a couple of months, we will be phase two with ramping up the website and actively helping partners with partner-partner relationships. As the site evolves, it will be easier to search by use case, by region. and the like.”

With this subsequent expansion, Dell expects to significantly expand the numbers of partners in their program, which will in turn make it more effective with time.

“There will definitely be a significant addition in numbers,” Shepherd said. “Initially, we are focusing on a small set of partners with whom we are aligning strategically. You create swim lanes for different types of providers, put them in different buckets. Now that we have the swim lanes in place, we will rapidly add more partners.”

The IoT Program has three tiers.

“The Registered Tier is for entry level partners, who are strategically aligned with Dell but not fully differentiated in their technology or go-to-market,” Shepherd said. “We will drive awareness for them, but won’t recommend them until things are more proven with them.”

The Associate tier members, in the middle, have a more differentiated and focused brand or technology or go-to-market model.”

“We will pull the Associate level into deals,” Shepherd stated.

The top tier, Executive, includes larger players and what Shepherd called really innovative smaller players.

“The innovative players are strong in particular areas, like edge analytics,” Shepherd said.

Along with the program, Dell announced some new IoT product. This includes the Dell Edge Gateway 5100 Model. A variant of the Dell Edge Gateway 5000 announced last fall for the building and factory automation sectors, the 5100 is slotted for extended temperature ranges found in industrial environments. Dell also launched five new accessories for the Edge Gateways, including I/O and power modules, ZigBee module, CAN bus card, and IP65-rated rugged enclosure. Dell also announced new cloud-based manageability software, the Edge Device Manager, which provides centralized reporting and control of edge gateways from a single cloud-based console.