Dell announces Australian partner program

PC vendor introduces local PartnerDirect program, which sees resellers split into Registered and Certified levels

Almost a year after launching its first channel program in the US, Dell has taken the wrappers off its Australian partner program.

Similarly to the US version, the Australian PartnerDirect program is broken into two levels: Registered and Certified. Those who become Registered partners get access to training and support, logo usage and login details for the vendor’s Web-based partner portal including product information, ordering and technical support facilities. There are no sales targets.

"We will review this [sales targets] over time to see if there is opportunity to put sensible targets in place if it makes sense," channel sales director, David Connellan, said.

At a higher level, Certified partners who make a larger investment into Dell get access to demo equipment, field-based account management, enhanced financing options, deal registration and technical support. They also get access to Dell channel marketing managers.

Partners will have access to Dell’s full product range and can also use its online configuration system to customise products for customers.

Dell channel strategy and acquisition manager, Rob Makin, said there were no plans to introduce any rules of engagement determining which customer sales would be pursued directly versus those pushed through the channel, but he was adamant it would support channel partners in selling to the customer. If a customer is transacting with a partner, those partners would own the customer, he said. He also stressed the importance of its deal registration program.

“This is all about building incremental business both for channel partners and for Dell,” he said. “We won’t look at segmenting the market between direct business and indirect business – we are looking at a customer choice model and where partners can add value. This could be a multitude of engagements, whether that’s a greenfield site or where a partner has more capability, such as geographical coverage and scope of opportunity.”

Makin highlighted SMB as one area where channel partners could add value, but said it was hoping to increase business across the board.

In the US, Certified partners must get certifications in either Enterprise Architecture or Managed Services. Makin said it would not introduce these certification requirements locally in the short term, but would look to establish an enterprise partner base down the line which would be certified to provide higher-end storage products and related services.

Earlier this month, Dell appointed Makin and Connellan to oversee its channel strategy.

The vendor has also been in discussions with local integrators and resellers over recent months in an effort to secure top-tier partners. Alongside its corporate push, Dell also brought on its first Australian retail partner, Officeworks, in May.

Makin has talked with a significant number of partners but was unable to disclose names at this stage. He said the vendor had not set a limit on how many Certified partners it planned on working with.

Dell has already rolled out its PartnerDirect program in the US, Europe and parts of Asia.

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Dell will be worse than HP

If anyone thinks that Dell will be good at managing their Partners and potential opportunities, then they are very much mistaken and they will be very disappointed. Dell has a direct model at the very core of its business systems, practices and policies - it will always look to go direct. This is just their attempt to get more business - outside of its direct salesforce (which it is still maintaining). HP struggled with this for a while after acquiring Compaq, and lost the trust of many Partners because of it. If anyone thinks that Dell will not say in a year or two's time - 'thanks for that, but we are now going back to our core business model' - then they are mistaken.



Don't trust Dell

Dell have spent 20 years in the market working closely with customers and telling them that direct is the only way to deal with a PC manufacturer. Then when sales start to fall because of second rate service outsourced from India, they jump to an indirect model. Dell once shone through superior quality products and service. Now it is just a me too company. Only trust companies that have a guaranteed and well supported channel strategy. Not a money hungry market share grab.

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