Silverback Partners Path Still Uncertain

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Six months after Dell acquired the managed services platform provider, partners who attended the recent partner conference were still left wondering about the way new programs will work. 

Silverback managed services partners got the opportunity to ask candid questions about the future of their MSP platform during the first partner conference held since Dell acquired the company last summer.

They learned that Silverback Version 8.0 would likely be hosted only by Dell. They learned that Dell plans to sell these services directly to customers in addition to supporting an active managed services partner program.

But partners mostly learned that detailed answers to their questions would not be forthcoming at the conference this month. Partners accustomed to the openness of Silverback's management found that under publicly-held Dell that same management could not be so open with information.

"Not much of a roadmap was presented," said Todd McKendrick, vice president of sales at Do IT Smarter, a Silverback and MSP platform provider. Do IT Smarter hosts Silverback and other services for MSPs who can then offer them to their own customers. 

"They are trying not to step on any toes," McKendrick said. "They've come up with a partner registration program. But they were also clear that data being hosted by them will be visible by them. VARs may run the risk of giving away some of vital information about customers."

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Former Silverback CEO Dan Philips, now Dell's MSP channel chief, offered assurances to nervous partners during the event.

"There was a huge comfort factor in having the event in that Silverback's channel was used to being with Silverback in an open, communicative partnership relationship," Philips told The Channel Insider in an interview after the event. "We are trying hard to build a program that they are right in the middle of."

Partners learned about technology directions, were offered reassurance that the Dell direct sales team would receive neutral compensation, and got information about registering existing customers, according to Philips.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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