One of the biggest advantages with Dell EMC comes in the form of its holistic portfolio of IT products and solutions. And when it comes to storage and server space, the company is bringing a lot of innovation and this is helping channel as well as enterprise customers realize the full potential in this space.
At the recently held Canalys Channels Forum in Hong Kong – Darren Sullivan, SVP Global Partner Strategy and Business Operations at Dell EMC and Tian Beng Ng, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Channels APJ, Dell EMC speak with Zia Askari from ChannelDrive.in about the company’s current channel strategy and its future plans.
Tian Beng Ng, Dell EMC
Talking about the growth part which you have mentioned – those are pretty interesting phenomenal numbers that you have achieved, especially on the storage and server side, so what do you think has worked for Dell EMC to achieve this kind of growth?
TB: Yeah I think, it is pretty simple actually, Looking back two and a half years ago when we did the integration of Dell EMC, the reason why we did this integration is because we wanted to have the most complete portfolio in the industry and we really believe that any customer or any partner out there, if you ask them if you want to work with more vendors or less.
I think everyone I’ve met has said we would want to deal with less vendors. And especially if they can deal with a vendor that is best in class in the different categories of the portfolio. Obviously, if I say I have a big portfolio, but I’m a number 10 or 12 market player, it becomes very difficult because you are very small. But I think where we are unique in is that while we have a broad portfolio, we are actually market leader in majority of the product categories and hence I think we have a very strong portfolio and I think that message is resonating very well with our customers and partners and hence our very strong results.
Today if you look at the channel ecosystem, what some of the big verticals that you see are clearly dominating the channel space, in terms of their customers?
TB: Frankly, it is a bit difficult because it depends on the country. If I talk about it from the India perspective perhaps, is that obviously, government is a huge market for us in India. We also have a lot of the tech and e-commerce companies in India that are growing very quickly, example, Flipkart, and these type of companies. Digital infrastructure companies are experiencing a huge momentum but again, if I talk about India, the economy is doing really well and hence we see opportunities across all the different industries.
One thing I want to understand is based on the issue of geopolitical challenges, like you have these trade war happening in US and China and so far and so forth, so how well is Dell EMC prepared to face these challenges?
TB: I think we are very well prepared. The fact that we are one of the largest tech vendors in the world would obviously put us in a strong position and we have a diversified manufacturing strategy. We have manufacturing sites across the world, in Europe, North America and in Asia and hence I think honestly in these kind of challenging situations, the bigger companies with a very diversified manufacturing and a very strong world class supply chain would be able to best react.
Moving forward in the year 2019, what are some of the expectations that you have from the channel community, especially from India.
TB: Well, I think what we expect partners over the world and in India to do a couple of things. Number 1, as you heard from some of the keynote sessions is that, the whole IT consumption is changing. If you look at the Forrester quote what we saw earlier today, it was pretty clear that partners need to change. If they are only willing to remain as a pure hardware reseller, that may be fine for now, but when we look to the future, it will be frankly difficult to survive in the long term and hence I think one of the big expectations for partners is to change and meet the trends in the industry and one big trend as we discussed is to be able to sell more of our business outcomes as opposed to just purely selling of the technology. So we are realistic that not all partners are able to make this switch immediately, it will be a journey for them to make a change, but we would like our partners to start doing the change, and we will play our part by providing the types of training to enable them to make this switch. For example, one of the trainings we have launched this year is called IoT competency, which is a good example. In the past, maybe, the normal types of training we provide certification on are server or storage but here we are providing IoT competency training and in the future we will be launching more and more.
Specifically talking about giving a direction to grow, what are the types of technologies that Dell EMC is putting its weight behind in terms of enabling its partners to embrace those technologies in a better way. IOT is a great example, blockchain or 5G?
TB: All of these things you mentioned are happening. If you look at any of these analyst reports, the big technology trends are going to be hybrid cloud, as in not all companies are keeping their data just on the public cloud but also on the private cloud, so it is going to be a combination.
Second of all, another big trend that is happening is multi-cloud. This means that rather than companies just staying with one public cloud provider, AWS, which is obviously the most preferred, but now we see companies now keeping some workloads on AWS and some workloads on Azure, some workloads on Google.
Companies are beginning to move their workload both cross the different public clouds and from public to private. I think that is one very big trend that is happening now. The other big trend that is happening in terms of technology is hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) which continues to grow very rapidly. In fact, just the recent quarter (Q3 for Dell) where we announced our earning results, we actually shared that we shipped over a billion-dollar’s worth of VXrail since we launched and it has grown triple digit last year.
So obviously, that is another of the big trends that is happening. I do want to clarify that while HCI will grow triple digit, the rest of the storage market will also continue to grow, so it is not just HCI, the rest of the storage market is growing very healthily too, our strategy is to focus on both.
How do you manage channel conflict situations?
TB: We have very robust rules of engagement that we use to govern these types of situations. For example, we have a deal registration system so that when partners find opportunities, they are able to use this and deal register, and when we accept it, we will protect the opportunity only for the channel partner. So, we have these different governing policies to ensure that we are able to govern the collaboration between different teams.
So what are the one or two big opportunities you think will come in the upcoming year 2019?
TB: Storage overall as a portfolio. It is already performing very well for us but the potential is humongous. It is an opportunity that remains because of all these trends that are happening – increasing usage of data, people analysing and being able to solve business outcomes, hence this huge opportunity in storage is there, so we want to drive that momentum.
Server is another one that we will continue to focus on, as I shared with you the percentages, it is growing really well, but we want to continue to grow in that space. I think the other big opportunity is we want to be a vendor of choice for partners. In the channel world, we want partners to think of us as their number one vendor to actually work with.
So that brings me to this question, if a partner is working with Lenovo, IBM or Microsoft or any other vendor, what is the big differentiation that is coming in from Dell EMC which kind of is making you closer to that particular party.
TB: Very simple – portfolio. No other vendor out there, has our length and breadth. It is agreed by pretty much everyone that our portfolio compared to the other vendors is by far the most comprehensive. That is one key differentiator. I think that is why partners want to work with us, they can just deal with one vendor that is a market leader. Number one in server, revenue units, number one in storage, while we are not number one in desktops and notebooks, we are one of the top 3 vendors. As part of Dell technologies, VMware – VMWare is an undisputed virtualisation leader in the world. If you look at the portfolio we have RSA, which is one of the most well-known security companies. So, you can see by this short conversation that yes the portfolio is very broad and very strong.