Boosting Dell's Ranks with CertificationsBy Chris Gonsalves | Print
Dell's PartnerDirect channel program may have disappointed resellers with a few missteps in its first nine months, but overall, solution providers and analysts are giving Dell high marks for listening to partners and working the kinks out of their partner relations. From CEO Michael Dell on down, it's clear Dell is serious about leaving behind its direct-only past and succeeding in the channel world.
Second, Dell plans by the end of 2008 to add several solution provider certifications to augment the enterprise architecture and managed services credentials currently offered. Areas of focus look to be virtualization, security, power and cooling, and perhaps even a "green IT" certification, Davis says.
"A large number of solution providers have a focus and a specialization," Davis adds. "We need to make sure we're doing our part to help them capitalize on that. And for our part, it assures that we are focused on the right group of partners. We don't need 10,000 resellers. We need the partners that can best work with what we offer to help drive success for everyone involved.
"Solution providers tend to be focused. For example, they have a virtualization practice and they sell that broadly, rather than trying to sell everything to a few customers. That's what we consider to be our target audience. These are the people who are serious.
"The bottom line is that we have the ability to ship quantity unit one very efficiently. I want to recruit and attract resellers based on that ability," Davis says. "We're currently dealing with millions of SMBs direct. We can certainly deal with thousands of partners."
Donna Troy, the channel veteran who now holds the title of vice president and general manager of Dell's Corporate Accounts Division, says while there is a great deal of component-level talent available across IT, "It's the solution talent, in SAAS (software as a service) or in IT services delivery that is the game-changer."
Troy added, "A lot of interesting things are going to happen with VARs around services. We're developing everything to be available as a service to be delivered through the partners."
Dell currently has 368 resellers certified in enterprise architecture and Davis says he'd like to have 700 by the end of the year. Dell also now has between 80 and 100 certified MSPs, a number that has doubled in the past three months.