Dell brings on first Australian partners

Dell brings on first Australian partners

SA-based VInet one of the first to join the former direct vendor's channel ranks

Dell’s local channel boss remains happy with its partner recruitment strategy and is now introducing the third Enterprise tier of its global channel program to the Australian partner community. The decision comes nine months after the PC vendor launched its first-ever partner structure locally.

Dell’s program was initially split into an entry-level Registered tier, as well as a Certified level. During a recent interview with ARN, Dell’s channel strategy manager, Rob Makin, said it was now working with several partners to bring them up to Certified level. In the long term, he expected about 20 per cent of its total Register partner base would become Certified.

Makin declined to specify how many partners he hoped would rise up to Enterprise level, but stressed the importance of working with a select, rather than wide-reaching, base of resellers in regional, rural and metro areas.

“We did our due diligence prior to launch to see the partners that could add value,” he said. “Over the nine months, we have approached the number of partners we wanted to achieve.

“It’s a case of building an open access relationships with local channel champions.”

Makin said Dell’s direct sales team were also being compensated for every channel deal to ensure there was no stigmatism against partners winning deals or selling into a direct account. However, the focus for Dell’s channel was on building incremental business.

Those across Australia to have joined Dell’s inaugural partner program include WA-based Accord Crox, Kiandra in Melbourne, SA-based VInet, DWM, Strategic IT on the NSW Central Coast, and MCR.

Five year-old VInet made the switch from HP to Dell late last year. Co-founder and managing director, Stuart Davis, said it was looking for a differentiator against other channel players in the market. The integrator provides a range of IT services and sell Dell’s full suite of products, with a predominant focus on organisations with up to 100 users.

Davis admitted he was initially apprehensive about working with a vendor whose history was in direct selling, but found Dell’s flat and simple channel structure, appealing. He also praised Dell’s product portfolio and channel team. VInet also partners with Cisco and Microsoft.

“We wanted to align with somebody who would protect their channel,” Davis said. “Dell gives us a competitive advantage against the masses, so it was a logical step for us to make.”

Makin said Dell was also working with VInet on opportunities in the SA public sector and education markets and the local branch of a global Dell customer.

He said Dell was in discussions with a number of tier-one integrators and hoped to announce those partnerships shortly. Several customer wins were also on the board and are expected to be revealed in coming months.

“We also have identified areas where we wanted to work with partners,” Makin said. “We don’t take everyone on; for example, we don’t want to sign five more partners in Adelaide. Our relationship strategy is the most important way we can deliver our channel strategy.”

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