Dell Starts a PartnerStorm
Once a victim of negative publicity in the blogosphere, Dell seems to have digested those lessons and recently has been lauded as a company that effectively leverages Web 2.0 for its own purposes. For example, Dell created a program to reach out to those who were complaining about Dell on blogs and connect them with the right people at the company.
IdeaStorm, the popular forum created by Dell for its customers, is another example. Powered by Salesforce.com, the site has allowed customers to weigh in on what they want by posting ideas, from Linux-based PCs to better customer service. Then other customers can vote on whether it's a good idea or not. IdeaStorm, featured in the book "Groundswell" as an example of a great use of Web 2.0 technology, has given customers a place to vent their frustrations -- in a Dell-monitored and controlled place -- at the same time it gives Dell a place to harvest the best of customers' brainstorming.
Now Dell has taken that one step further with an IdeaStorm-like offering, but this one is targeted at the reseller community. A few days after its soft launch, the PartnerStorm site, still a subset of IdeaStorm, included a posting by one would-be channel partner who was unhappy because he couldn't get any better pricing than Dell offered customers directly.
Other resellers offered similar comments. How Dell will digest these reseller ideas and suggestions remains to be seen. Since it launched its formal channel partner program PartnerDirect in December, Dell has said it wants to partner with resellers that can reach the accounts it has not been able to reach. Not all resellers will meet Dell's partner profile, or be happy about it. But the new PartnerStorm site should be rife with ideas for Dell, a company that built itself on a direct-only religion but that now has become deeply agnostic, welcoming partners into the fold.
And whether you are a convert or not, the site is certainly worth checking out.