Breaking new frontiers

Dell Software Group wants partners to play to their strengths and says it will depend heavily on top partners going forward, but it also needs solution providers that can sell up and down the product portfolio.

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Breaking new frontiers Kendra says Dell wants partners to play to their strengths.
By  Manda Banda Published  December 23, 2013

Dell said the company is already seeing a good number of partners selling across its entire enterprise solutions portfolio, and Kendra expects even more to follow suit as the company steps up its channel programmes and momentum in the regional IT market.

He said the Dell Partner Program is a long standing very effective partner engagement model for the company and its channel ecosystem. “The companies that we bought had partner relationships already. For example SonicWall’s business was driven entirely through the channel here in the Middle East. Quest Software had a very large partner organisation and so what we are trying to do here is take out the best elements and integrating them in the umbrella Dell Partner Program,” he said.

Kendra said partners don’t want multiple Dell entities coming at them with different approaches but would like to have a relationship with the company with the requirements of the alliance handled by the specific parts of the programme. “We recognise the strength of the Dell Partner Program already in place and there is an enormous learning between the software group and the rest of the Dell business. Also, our end-user customers want us to have partners that are certified as this gives them the level of confidence and security they need to work with our channel partners,” he said.

When asked about the software group’s business opportunities and how the company plans to accelerate growth, Kendra said: “The big opportunities for us and in almost every sector but key for us in the region include: banking and finance. Why banking and finance? It’s because of heavy requirements for security, identity and access management, performance management and monitoring of applications, and back-up and recovery.”

He reiterated that banking and finance is a strong focus and segment, and government agencies because of the security thrust. “We think banking and finance, government, and oil and gas are strong growth opportunities for software group. Again this doesn’t mean that other sectors are not, opportunities are there. I have had very interesting conversations with our partners and customers about how cloud services really play out in this region,” he explained. He added that Dell has got products that are already delivered via the cloud today and the regional channel and customers can expect to see more in the future.

In May 2013, Dell purchased a company called Enstratius, one of the leaders in multi-cloud management. Kendra said what customers are telling the company is that they want to utilise their private cloud to the best of their ability and they need to be able to use the external, public or hybrid cloud. “It’s all about the best use of the available resources at the lowest cost according to the client’s governance and security model. So the Enstratius acquisition helps customers to do that,” he said. “We have exciting products and I look forward to seeing how this plays out in the UAE.”

Having completed its private equity buyout in October, Kendra believes that being a private entity will allow the company to enhance its innovation capabilities. “We think about some of the major forces going on in the industry like cloud, big data, mobility, BYOD and security, each of these major shifts and forces in our industry, are products and innovation that Dell brings to market and will continue to do so,” he said. He said the company would like to think of these changes as opportunities that give it the same prospects that were presented 30 years ago with the PC. “How do you make buying, owning and using a PC that much easier,” he asked? “Our software strategy in the entire company’s plan is tailored around solving some of these challenges and delivering value faster.

On the distribution front, Kendra said the traditional role of a distributor has evolved and great distributors right now help develop opportunities for their reseller partners. “They help with training, partner enablement, building strategies and one of the most important things they do is they take many of these technologies and explain how they fit together with their solutions centre approach,” he said, adding that they also deliver the things they have always done like stocking, financing, lead management and vendor management. “So the role of the great distributors is evolving very quickly and we are lucky to have some good ones in the UAE.”

In the 12 months, Kendra said he expects to hear the list of wins and successes, and announcements about how innovative and exciting Dell Software Group offerings have been. “Today we have a lot of great products but the main stumbling block is that customers don’t know all of the great products within the group,” he said. He added that partners might be familiar with SonicWall or Toad, which is a database management product within Quest but they don’t understand the full portfolio and as they do, they are going to get more excited. “So where do I want to be in 12 months,” he enquired? I want to have a conversation where our partners will be telling us about all the wins they have been having in the Middle East region. That for me is success,” he said.

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