Hardware giant Dell is roughly halfway through a global makeover.
With the recent acquisition of security hardware vendor, SonicWall, and the pending purchase of Quest, the company is taking a big picture view of the world.
“The acquisitions we’ve seen over the last two or so years - something like 16 of those - that’s all about our transformation of our business not to move away from hardware but to add to it as a total solutions provider,” says James Arnold, New Zealand manager for consumer and SMB solutions. “We’re looking to give our customers a total package from end using computing to tablets to desktops right through to the infrastructure and the management of that and the end devices.”
The $2.4 billion Quest acquisition announced earlier this month will give Dell a management package and the basis for a software division to move the company away from pure hardware. The Quest acquisition is seen as a boost on the enterprise side of Dell’s business, pitting it against the likes of HP, IBM, CA and BMC, and a no-brainer in the enterprise space.
Meanwhile, Arnold sees Dell’s SMB resellers as an increasingly important pillar for sales growth.
“Certainly over the last few years in those segments we’re seeing huge growth in direct and channel sales at a rate faster than the market,” Arnold says. “The channel is a major part of that and that’s going faster than our direct business. Channel on a global level represents 33 percent of our business and that’s mostly in the mid-market and SMB space so we’re seeing good results for our total solutions and our channel strategy.”
Dell has 500 partners throughout Australia and New Zealand, in its three-tiered programme of registered, premier and preferred resellers.
“We’re partnering with people that have the skills and capability to understand how to sell a desktop or notebook but they have to understand more complex infrastructure such as switching and servers and storage,” Arnold says. “And as we expand into the management side of things with our software portfolio they have to be able to do that as well.”
Arnold says the company is continuously looking at its channel programme to find out what works best for partners. Currently, the organisation provides online self-timed training, webinars and face-to-face training, including training for premier and preferred partners who are flown in to train on software suites.
“The positive feedback we get is very much around our deal registration and training programmes,” says Arnold.
This year the vendor launched an APAC partner awards, and Arnold says the local distribution relationship with Express Online has been beneficial since Dell signed on with the company then known as Simms in 2010.
In New Zealand, Dell is targeting regional resellers to grow its SMB business.
“I’m certainly always looking ways to grow the channel,” Arnold says. “To me the regional capability is an important piece obviously. I’m looking at regional growth to expand into the South Island, Otago and the West Coast for example, and I’m looking at that from region to region.”