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The ranks of Dell’s certified partners swelled in 2009 by 50 percent as channel partners climbed on board Dell’s enterprise architecture certification track. However, Dell experienced some churn when it came to its managed services certified partners.

That’s according to channel executives at Dell who spoke to Channel Insider about Dell’s channel program’s progress over the course of 2009 and some early goals for 2010.

Dell’s PartnerDirect channel program has grown in importance to the company overall, with 26 of the company’s revenues now coming from the indirect channel in the third quarter, says Global Channel Chief Greg Davis, up from 20 percent during the same period a year ago.

Davis tells Channel Insider that Dell now has 1,500 certified partners, and at the beginning of this calendar year that number was 1,000. Of Dell’s three certifications, enterprise architecture is the one that saw the most growth in 2009. Here’s how it breaks down for U.S.-based partners:

  • 570 certified in enterprise architecture
  • 131 certified in the managed services program
  • 38 certified in Dell’s Federal Government program

This is a small group compared to Dell’s 50,000 registered partners. Registered partners are those that register with Dell to be a partner – no training required.

Davis and Dell continue to push the message that it pays to pursue certification. Davis notes that year over year, there has been a 63 percent increase in participation from certified partners. “That is their growth rate with Dell,” says Davis.

Deal registrations have a higher rate of approval for certified partners as well.

Overall, Dell’s deal registration approval rates have fallen over the past two years since the program began – starting at 80 percent approval and falling to 74 percent approved in September 2008 – but they have flattened out since late last year at 71 percent in December 2008 and an average of 72 percent in the most recent quarter in 2009, says Davis.

But deal registration approval ratings for certified partners were higher at 78 percent, Davis notes.

In mid-October Dell dropped the threshold for small business deal registration to $15,000 from $50,000.

Paul Shaffer, Dell’s global director of channel marketing, says that one big push that Dell will have completed by the end of January is the globalization of its partner portal in 120 countries and 19 languages. Dell’s portal will be using Google maps to show partner capability too, he says.