Dell and the ordinary extraordinary
Not everything in the IT industry is groundbreaking, leading edge, innovative, disruptive, next-generation or revolutionary.
There are times when what happens in IT is just as normal and everyday as something that happens in any other industry out there. You might not think that based on the evidence of so many of the announcements that technology companies make, but it’s true.
For example, Dell Technologies recently announced the launch of its Rise programme for authorised partners in Ireland, “merging its existing independent country offerings for authorised partners into a single unified offering”.
The vendor stated that the main objective of the scheme was to enable partners “to earn more when they sell more” of its client and server portfolios, rewarding partners as they grow their business with Dell.
There’s nothing fancy or complex about that. “Sell more of our stuff and we’ll give you more back,” isn’t a difficult message to get your head around.
Mind you, Dell couldn’t quite resist describing it as “a first of its kind offering” which is possibly hyperbolic and a potential hostage to fortune.
Nevertheless, the scheme outlines a path for SMB partners buying Dell products from distribution to progress through four different levels “and establish a path to levelling up their Dell Technologies business from authorised to metal partner tiers”.
I must confess, I love the notion of someone outlining the company’s vision at the beginning of the year as being to sell enough product to achieve the status of ‘metal partner’. There’s nothing new about metal, of course. It’s something which has remained a constant in IT for many years although, looking at Dell’s categories, the metals have been upgraded from the traditional gold, silver and bronze to gold, platinum and titanium. Does that count as disruption – or is it just inflation?
The Rise programme rewards authorised partners with a set amount of dollars per box sold that can be redeemed at the end of the quarter as e-vouchers or credit notes, dependent on which level they are in. These rewards can be used against their next purchase of Dell products from their preferred Dell authorised distributor.
In other words, the more Dell kit you sell in one quarter, the more ‘reward dollars’ you get to set against buying even more Dell kit in the next quarter. Again, this is easy to understand and simple to implement.
There’s nothing “first of its kind” about encouraging people to buy more of your products through a rewards scheme, however. Retailers do it all the time and they do it because it works.
The limiting factor for partners is that the rewards can only be redeemed against the purchase of Dell equipment. That’s what makes it great for Dell, of course, because it provides an incentive for partners to buy more of its kit. It could also potentially tilt the balance whenever partners have to choose between a product from Dell and something similar from a rival.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Dell is happy to reward partners that sell more of its products and other vendors can do the same if they want to.
Reward schemes are not groundbreaking, leading edge, innovative, disruptive, next-generation or revolutionary, but they’ve been around for longer than the IT industry and it doesn’t look as if technology is going to do away with them anytime soon.