Dell promises to keep it simple

Joyce Mullen, Dell
Joyce Mullen, Dell

Can a simple promise lead to a more prosperous channel?

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Billy

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4 May 2018 | 0

Billy MacInnesSimple. Predictable. Profitable.

Three words that it’s hard to misunderstand or misconstrue. No wonder Dell EMC has chosen to use them as its ‘promise’ (although ‘slogan’ might be a more accurate description) for channel partners.

Who doesn’t want a partner programme to be simple? Who would argue against one that was predictable (unless it was predictably bad)? And surely no one would oppose something that aimed to be profitable? No one.

But just saying these things, or printing them, doesn’t make them true. As reported in MicroScope, Dell EMC’s president of global channel, Joyce Mullen (pictured), made that clear at the vendor’s global partner summit in Las Vegas, telling partners: “We must make it easier for you to do more business with us… If we do nothing else, we must get this right. It is my number one priority.”

“Easier to do more business” fits very well with Dell EMC’s three-word slogan. Well, the first two at any rate – doing more business doesn’t automatically make you more profitable.

One of the ways Dell EMC has sought to simplify things is by trying to make it easier for partners to sell products from across its portfolio of technologies. Marius Haas, Dell EMC president and chief commercial officer, told MicroScope that the vendor was trying to create a framework where partners could access the full portfolio “under a single contract”.

We can all agree that’s a laudable objective but it’s often the case that trying to make things simpler is actually quite complicated, sometimes it can actually be more complicated than leaving them the way they are.

Take the idea of a framework, for example. Not only does Dell EMC have to try and make it possible for partners to access and sell its extensive product portfolio (and as simply as possible), it also has to make sure that the disparate sales teams it has in place for those different technologies are capable of working within that framework too. That’s complicated.

MicroScope quotes Scott Miller, senior director of strategic partnerships at WorldWide Technology, a Dell Titanium Business Partner (yes, Dell has gone higher than gold and one better than platinum), who believes “tactically, there’s a lot of work to do in the field”.

Dell EMC is right that ‘simple’ can’t be an objective on its own. You might expect predictability to be a consequence of making things more simple but there’s no guarantee it will be more profitable. Even if it does make things more profitable, it has to do so for both parties: Dell EMC and its partners. A balance has to be struck. Both parties have to bear the cost of the changes required to remove complexity, so both need to have a cut of the profits that simplicity (hopefully) generates.

Simple, predictable, profitable are words that might trip easily off the tongue or page, but they’re harder to turn into reality. The hard truth is that complicated is easy, simple is hard work.

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