Some of Australia’s largest systems integrators remain unconvinced on the benefits of signing up with traditionally direct PC giant, Dell. Nearly 12 months after launching its first partner program in the US, Dell announced an Australian version last week.
Similarly to the US, 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.
At a higher level, Certified partners who make a larger investment into Dell get access to demo equipment, field-based account management and marketing, enhanced financing options, deal registration and technical support.
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 selling to the customer. If a customer is transacting with a partner, those partners would own the customer, he said. He also stressed 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. Dell will also look to establish an enterprise partner base down the line which would be certified to provide higher-end storage products and related services, he said.
The vendor has been in discussions with local integrators and resellers over recent months in an effort to secure top-tier partners and brought on its first Australian retailer, Officeworks, in May.
Makin said he had talked with several potential partners but refused to disclose names.
Several integrators talking to ARN remained sceptical of Dell’s channel strategy and expected the company would have a difficult time signing recruits. However, most believed Dell would target top-tier integrators and outsourcers, rather than smaller organisations.
Datacom and Computer Corp representatives were both against working with Dell.