Dell’s channel delivered good performance numbers in their now-completed Q2, but the big news for the channel in the quarter may be a pair of management changes at Dell that are related to larger organizational restructuring.
The last quarter has seen multiple organizational changes at Dell Technologies. While their primary focus has been on driving changes that will improve efficiencies within the organization as a whole, these changes will also have tangible benefits for channel partners. Cheryl Cook, Senior Vice President of Dell Global Channel Marketing at Dell EMC, recently talked with ChannelBuzz to make sure that the channel was fully aware of these announcements’ implications.
One of the changes was last month’s naming of Jeff Boudreau as the President of Integrated Solutions Group, which covers servers, storage, networking and data protection. This unloads some of Jeff Clarke’s large realm from his direct management, although Boudreau will report to Clarke. It also represents the completion of the integration of the Dell and EMC infrastructure businesses.
“What we have done here is consolidated the management of our server, storage and networking business going forward,” Cook said. “That involves Ashley Gorakhpurwalla [servers], and Tom Burns [networking]. Dan Inbar, who had been in charge of Israel R&D, takes over Boudreau’s old role as storage leader.
“As we move to more integrated systems, this structure will bring that together from an engineering standpoint,” Cook said. “Jeff [Boudreau] also has a good understanding of the partner community.”
Cook also emphasized the significance of the appointment last month of Jen Felch in role of the new Chief Digital Officer, which is a new role in the Dell organization. Felch had previously been senior vice president of IT Order Management and Finance. Cook said that this was a key development in the rollout of the Dell Digital Way initiative.
The Dell Digital Way, which Dell began to develop last year, is the company’s strategy to apply digital transformation to itself, encouraging a cultural change designed to bring iterative DevOps-style processes across the organization. This process is internal, but Cook emphasized it will have major implications for channel partners.
“Jen reports to Howard Elias, who heads our internal IT as well as our services business globally,” she said. “The transformations of what we call the Dell Digital Way will find its way to partners in things like deal registration, in getting common quoting platforms across the client business, the data centre business, and a whole suite of changes which will have the effect of simplifying doing business with Dell.”
Cook said that while the Dell Digital Way is a longer-term initiative of two to three years, partners will still see some shorter-term benefits.
“Some of the improvements partners are realizing now, in terms of more self-service and simplified onboarding,” she indicated. “The process changes around deal registration and quoting are imminent. We are in our Q3 now, and will be introducing some capabilities in Q3 and Q4.”
This all comes in the context of a good quarter for the channel.
“We were delighted with our Q2,” Cook said. “We posted solid growth figures. Our first half top line revenue growth through the channel was up 11%, which led to an 8% increase in rebates paid to partners. Our overall distribution growth was 9% in the half. Our client business was up 6%. Our server revenue was up 13%, and storage was up 15%.”
Dell has been strongly pushing partner cross-selling across multiple lines for the last two years, and Cook said that remains ongoing.
“We are really encouraging partners to cross-sell,” she said. “Partners that sell three lines of business grow 8x faster than those who sell two lines, and 29 times faster than those who just sell one line of business.”
“Partners also did a good job helping us break into new accounts,” Cook said. “In the first half of our fiscal year, the channel delivered 34,685 new customers – up 11% year over year. We also had over 382,000 deal registrations for the period. We are very focused on growing faster than the market and the channel helps us to deliver that.”