Because of the time of year, the Dell Technologies World channel keynote this year was much less heavy on programmatic and enablement-related announcements than normal. They did, however, introduce several executives in new channel roles, and give the expected exhortations about the importance of the channel to the company.
On Thursday, Dell Technologies’ channel leadership team issues what amounted to a call to arms to the partner community, in ‘The Power Of Partnering’ keynote at the virtualized Dell Technologies World. Normally, the Dell partner event precedes the main event at a regular Dell World, and it is chock full of new programmatic and enablement-related announcements for partners. However, those physical Dell Worlds were in the spring, near the start of Dell’s new fiscal year. Like most large OEMs these days, Dell likes to stack its channel announcements at the start of the new year to give partners a more predictable environment for the year, and typically only tinker later on if a weakness or an opportunity becomes apparent. That means that this year’s event was rather shy on hard news for the partner community.
What ‘The Power of Partnering’ was not shy on was exhortations to partners that despite the challenges for 2020 created by the pandemic and the lockdowns, the company sees enormous opportunities for its partners and remains strongly committed to them.
“Together we have kept our businesses and our supply chains running and we have continued to deliver for our customers, whether it means deploying a remote workforce or enabling disease prevention and control,” said Dell CEO Michael Dell, who kicked off the keynote. “You have helped us continue to grow our customer base and to win share, and our team has worked hard to design programs to support your success. The power of partnering has never been more evident.”
Bill Scannell, Dell Technologies’ President Global Sales and Customer Operations, echoed these same themes of resilience and jointly overcoming obstacles.
“We are in uncertain times, but the resiliency and dedication to helping others that I have seen among our customers, partners and team members the last few months has been amazing,” Scannell declared.
“What is certain is that Dell Technologies’ innovation engine is on fire. In Q2 alone we had nine product and solution launches within nine weeks – all launched while working remotely. We updated Latitude laptops, Precision workstations, and Optiplex Desktops. We updated VxRail and Dell Technologies Cloud. And we fully ‘Powered’ up an infrastructure with launches of PowerStore, PowerScale, PowerFlex and our all-new PowerEdge Ai options. We have a powerful portfolio, and there is great power in working together… Together, with our partners, we are leveraging the power of our portfolio to deliver end-to end solutions and world class services to customers in this time of accelerated digital transformation. We’re driving innovation forward, uncovering new opportunities for growth, and delivering resiliency that stands the test of time, together.”
Scannell also reviewed the changes Dell has implemented to the sales model, which sees the channel sellers report to the regional sales leaders, but still working in concert with a global channel chief.
“Recently I announced a new channel Go-to-Market structure for the global sales organizations to provide even greater company-wide support for our partners around the world,” Scannell said. “We brought together our channel sellers into the regions, led by Gregg Ambulos in North America, reporting to John Byrne, and Diego Majdalani in international under Aongus Hegarty. Bringing our channel and core sellers together will make the predictability of engagements for partners even better than before. As our global channel chief, Rola Dagher will work very, very closely with Gregg and Diego and each of our regional channel leads to ensure alignment across global partner strategy and vision, enablement, program design, and most important, experience. We couldn’t do what we do without our partners. When we lock arms, and team up, we win.”
Rola Dagher, the new global channel leader, then spoke, briefly – possibly too briefly given that she is new in the key channel role – replacing Joyce Mullen. Dagher is certainly well known in Canada, where she spent twelve years at Dell Canada in senior leadership roles, followed by a successful three-year stint as Cisco’s Canadian President, which she left to return to Dell. She is likely much less well known elsewhere, however.
“People that know me know I grow that I grew up in the channel,” Dagher said. “I bleed partners. It starts with you and it ends with you. I am here to listen, learn and lead through all of you, and focus on innovation and speed to market. My commitment to you is to inspire you and empower you so that you can go out there and make a huge difference and impact on all our customers. My commitment will always, always be focused on your success.”
Denise Millard, the Senior Vice President, Global Alliances, is also new in her role, replacing Jay Snyder, although she has been at Dell, and EMC before that, for over two decades. (Kyle Dufresne, who took over the OEM part of Joyce Mullen’s old job was mentioned during the keynote, but did not speak). Millard focused in her segment on outlining how her organization can amplify channel partners’ success.
“Together with our partners, we develop innovation solutions: as-a-service, cyber recovery, smart cities and edge, all powered by 5G and cloud,” she said. “We go deep into vertical markets developing industry-ready solutions to give customers a competitive edge. And we give customers choice and flexibility with unique consumption models, so when the opportunity knocks, you’re prepared.”
Cheryl Cook, SVP of Global Partner Marketing, concluded the event, with a similar call to arms, and even the same metaphor Scannell used.
“Our innovation engine is on fire, and we are so thrilled to bring you the ability to solve your customers’ business problems through our Dell Technologies Cloud platform with a subscription, all served through the Dell Technologies Cloud Console,” Cook stated. “We continue to innovate at a record pace and the opportunity is now. With the changes we just announced on simplifying our sales engagement, we are going to increase velocity, mitigate any potential conflict with sales, and enable you to win and grow and innovate together. We remain committed to our promise of a simple, predictable and profitable program.”
While Cook usually comes to these events with an armload of new marketing initiatives and data points around partner sales and training achievements, the timing of the show this year worked against that. She did offer one highlight, however.
“Nine of our Dell Technologies partners have received the Proven Partners Services Competency,” she said. “This designation means they have a mastery in end to end data centre and hyperconverged capabilities.”