Dell sets course for integrated partner program

Frank Vitagliano, vice president of global channel strategy at Dell

Frank Vitagliano, vice president of global channel strategy at Dell

NIAGARA FALLS, ON — Dell global channel strategy chief Frank Vitagliano told the company’s partners at its Canadian Partner Summit here that the company plans to have a fully-integrated Dell/EMC partner program by early 2017, citing a “February timeframe” for a more integrated program being launched follow the tech mega-merger reaching completion last week.

Vitagliano, who’s been heavily involved in the integration work between the two companies on the channel side, said the goal is to have “one program with a common design, theme, and structure for the entire organiztion” by early 2017, but that for the time being, it’s business as usual, with Dell and EMC programs running the way that did pre-merger, and administrated by the same leadership.

The executive said the goal will be to retain the best of the two companies’ programs, have a path for partners to transition from EMC into the Dell program that recognizes their investment in that program. The company, he said, plans on taking the next few months to talk to partners from both side, see what’s working and what’s not, and then align that feedback with its overall strategy.

“We’re going to align it, simplify it, and create an offering that allows us both to be profitable and successful in the marketplace,” Vitagliano said.

It’s an interesting challenge that introduces additional complexity to the two companies’ channel programs, and Vitagliano acknowledged that while they’ve dealt with a lot of the questions and surprises that pop up, the company does not yet know all of the issues it will have to deal with, much less have the answers to those issues. But he and former Dell global channel Greg Davis, now a key executive working on the integration of the two companies, stressed that the company is working hard to get the details right.

“Know that we’re committed, we’re committed to getting it right, and we’re committed to working through the problems,” Davis told partners, before urging them to e-mail him directly ([email protected]) if they “see something that doesn’t feel right” in the company’s dealings with partners.

Both executives also hit on the idea of going broader and deeper across the newly combined portfolio of the company. Dell Canada channel chief Tara Fine called cross-selling more of the portfolio across existing customers base “a remarkable opportunity, even within the next three months as we bring things together,” and called for partners to become the “go to” partner in their area, and especially with their existing base of customers, for the full portfolio.

“If you currently don’t do business with Dell, work with your EMC channel account manager, and we’ll figure out how to speed up that process,” Fine told partners.

From his perspective as the pre-merger EMC-side Canadian channel chief, Michael Kerr issued a similar suggestion to partners, saying that the merger provides a unique opportunity, for example, for storage-centric partners to “think about the broader infrastructure story.”

“There’s a true business opportunity in focusing on the skills you already have, and the customers you already have, and seeing if you expand through that,” Kerr said.