Spotlight on Channel Engagement Part 1 | ChannelDrive.in
Close on the heels of its merger, Dell EMC’s partner program, today, combines double the strength when it comes to offering products and solutions. It delivers great opportunities and growth prospects for the channel ecosystem in the APAC region.
Tian Beng NG, Senior Vice President and GM, Channels, APJ, Dell EMC interacts with Zia Askari from ChannelDrive.in about the importance of the channel community and how a Dell EMC amalgamation is now bringing in more profitability.
Please share details on the recently launched Dell EMC channel program – how did you combine the best of Dell and EMC together?
We launched our new Dell EMC program in February 2017. We did a lot of work before launching our program last year. After the two companies, Dell and EMC, integrated we worked towards getting feedback from our partners on how they would like to see our new program. We had a great opportunity.
We are obviously a leading industry player with both Dell and EMC combined together. And we had a good opportunity to actually design a program from scratch. So we gathered inputs and feedback from many of our partners across the world on what they would like to see in our program.
We incorporated a lot of that feedback after various sessions with our partners and launched a new program in February with three core tenets – Simple, Predictable and Profitable.
The theme of how we designed the new Dell EMC channel program is based on combining the best of the legacy Dell channel program and best of the legacy EMC channel program. For example, when I say simple, we reduced the number of product categories that we had. We introduced a unified partner portal.
So this means that whether you were an EMC or Dell partner before, now you are under one single program. So it doesn’t matter what product you resell, partners are under one common program now.
Another example of being simple is that we launched a unified partner portal. Whether a partner sells desktops or storage, or falls under a different tier, all partners use this one common partner portal.
In terms of being predictable, we launched rules of engagement, so that everyone in our channel community and our Dell EMC staff knew clearly what the rules of engagement are. We also extended the way we actually measure our partners. In the past, we measured them on a quarterly cycle. Now we measure them on a half-yearly cycle. This way, business becomes more predictable for them.
When it comes to the final tenet of profitability, we made our program richer through increased rebates and access to incremental market development funds.
Since its launch, we have got really good feedback. I think a lot of partners appreciated that we took their inputs and designed it such that it met many of their requirements. The good news, too, is that the results actually show it. We just completed about six months of the new channel program. A majority of our partners (more than 60%), are getting increased rebates with Dell EMC, compared to a year ago. A majority of them are also growing year on year.
Two other highlights are the rebates and distribution numbers. When it comes to rebates and market development funds that we are paying, it has actually increased year on year by double digits.
The other call-out is our distribution business which is also up double digits. We’re growing double digits year on year. So, two quarters into the launch of the new program the results have been very positive.
Now tell me something about the key advantages that you see that the new Dell EMC partner program is delivering to the partners?
As I mentioned earlier, the cycle is now moving from a quarterly to a six-monthly period which makes it a lot more predictable. The other thing that we are doing now is that whenever we launch a program we try not to change it. We try to leave the program to run. Earlier, one feedback that we were given was that we tend to change our program too often. Being predictable means we make sure that the programs are longer term and that our partners have a way to predict how it works with us.
In delivering Simplicity, we believe that having a common program across all products and having a single partner portal is really important. Because no matter what product they sell, they are now able to use a common partner portal to conduct all their transactions with Dell EMC. Additionally, there’s the increased rebate which drives the final tenet of profitability.
In general, a fundamental advantage that partners of both Dell and EMC have is the breadth of our combined portfolio. Partners can sell much more than what they did earlier.
Your partners have more products and more solutions to offer when compared to the previous obviously Dell and EMC – when it was not merged.
Of course! Our strategy is to be the partner of choice from the edge to core to the cloud. So it’s really an end-to-end and very strong portfolio. Our belief is that it’s important to have a robust product portfolio.
Additionally, when we speak to our customers and partners, most, if not all, would prefer to deal with fewer vendors. A vendor with the breadth of a single end-to-end portfolio like ours is more practical than multiple vendors.
How is Dell EMC incentivizing the channel ecosystem? How do you look at this space which is basically to empower your channel community and push them towards doing more?
The whole topic of enablement and training channel partners is a very big area of focus for us. We have a dedicated channel enablement team spread out across APJ. The first charter for this group is to really enable our partners through multiple trainings and certification modules. The training is delivered through a combination of both virtual training through webcasts and face-to-face training. We also have a very thorough program with different types of certifications that we require our partners to do.
For partners that do get themselves trained by us, we provide incentives. We also have three metal tiers of partners; namely Gold, Platinum and Titanium. There are different types of certifications partners need to do, depending on which tier they are in.