Dell has launched its long-anticipated Partner Direct programme in New Zealand, but is giving few details about the partners it has already signed, and those it aims to recruit in future. The programme comprises Registered and Certified partner levels. The Registered partner level offers onsite and online channel training, a partner portal for online ordering, use of Dell’s logo, a deal registration programme and financing. The Certified level includes the components of the Registered level, along with demonstration equipment use, enhanced financing options, and technical support. Dell says it will also offer market development funds. In addition, the vendor is offering Enterprise Architecture certification, which centres around servers, storage, virtualisation and energy efficiency. ANZ channel strategy and acquisition director Rob Makin says Dell approached a number of local partners to ensure it adequately covered market segments and regions, but wouldn’t say which or how many it had signed. He would only say it has a “quite a number” on board from launch day today, and will actively recruit more. However, he says the partners will ensure coverage from one to two person businesses to large organisations, and that the channel has a role in all of Dell’s four business units – small and medium business, large enterprise, public sector and consumer. The only partner so far named to migrate to Partner Direct in New Zealand is Business Technology Group (BTG).
BTG technical director and owner Steve Harris says the company has been working with Dell for almost two years, offering products to all of its customers during this time.
Harris says the company signed up to the Partner Direct programme because it will give BTG a competitive edge in the marketplace, but wouldn’t go into further details, citing commercial sensitivity.
He says joining the programme will mean numerous opportunities for BTG. “I won’t name them but we’ve got bucketloads of opportunities that we are doing quite well out of.”
Harris says the company has had a good working relationship with Dell.
“We’ve enjoyed the fact that we have been one of the few resellers working with the Dell channel because there was a perception Dell had a go direct model. Dell have been really good with enforcing themselves so if there is an opportunity we are both going for they don’t chop us out of a deal.”
Harris adds that he is excited for Dell and thinks any other reseller that gets on board will do well with the vendor.
Makin says there is "nothing really revolutionary about this [programme]."
"We want to make it easy for partners to do business with us and put some investment into partners. In New Zealand, we’re going to focus on making sure we have the right partners and then enabling them,” says Makin. There is no minimum revenue level for partners to register for the scheme, but a threshold of $20,000 has been set for registered deals. Makin wouldn’t say what specific margin percentages would be available to partners. “What we’ve seen in Australia and [internationally] is that in the three levels - registered, certified and enterprise architecture, [partners’] profitability increases and their revenue increases as well.” Dell also has set structures in place to minimise conflict between registered channel opportunities and its direct sales business, says Makin. “We’ll give [partners] a level of exclusivity and pricing support. We won’t offer that pricing to our account team or another partner,” he says. The vendor has distinct channel sales and operational teams that assess whether an opportunity is definitely new, and has been registered by a Dell partner, says Makin. Dell says it has a “channel neutral” sales compensation programme, whereby compensation is given to its own account managers whether a deal is made through the channel or not. Makin says conflict between direct and indirect sales in Australia, and globally, have been rare since the scheme was launched in the US in late 2007, and about nine months ago in Australia. He says the vendor has strict ethics and governance procedures to stop conflict happening. “The partner can rest assured when information about a customer that stays inside the walls.” Partner Direct has also been launched in Europe and Asia, and has tens of thousands of partners signed.