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Dell has launched a limited pilot of a direct-to-customers managed services program, the company told partners in a March 31 letter from channel chief Greg Davis.

The pilot initially will be limited by geography—slated for Dallas, Davis said—and he promised to reveal further details about Dell’s managed services plans and how they relate to the company’s nascent channel partner program during a partner webinar the week of April 21. 

“[We will] outline the results and growth of our MSP certification program, and share our plans for continued enhancements to the MSP platform and overall channel program,” Davis said in his letter to partners.  “This webinar will provide our partners the opportunity to be educated on the enhancements to Dell’s platform technology and programs that will enable you to develop specific initiatives suited to meeting your business goals.”

Davis wrote that the seminar would be the first in “a series of conversations with our partners as we continue to develop Dell’s managed services channel strategy and offerings for our partners.”

Further, Davis said, Dell has added an MSP certification track for Dell’s desktop and remote device management services, which now includes technology from the company’s recent acquisition of Everdream

Davis said that partners “can now access the technology, training and best practices of all Dell managed services practice areas including those offered for IT infrastructure remote monitoring and management technology driven by Dell’s enterprise monitoring services [enabled by the recently acquired Silverback technology], and those offered for Dell’s desktop and remote device management services.”

Davis noted that current Everdream partners and those who register before May 15 will be “grandfathered” into the Dell MSP desktop remote management certification program.

When Dell unveiled its channel partner program in December 2007, the company said it would launch with a managed services “competency.”

Also in December, former Silverback CEO, now the head of the services part of Dell’s channel program, Dan Phillips, told Channel Insider that Dell’s managed services program would include a direct component.  And in January at the Silverback partner summit, partners again were told that such a program would be complementary to Dell’s channel program.