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Dell keeps it simple for partners

It's hard to argue against a programme of consistent incentives, says Billy MacInnes
Image: Dell

10 February 2022

It was interesting to see Dell Technologies demonstrate the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid) when it outlined the latest changes to its partner programme this month. But while it’s hard for anyone to argue with the virtues of keeping it simple, it can sometimes be a lot more complicated to achieve simplicity when things are often never as simple as we’d all like them to be. Still, kudos to Dell for making the effort.

So to the announcement, which seems simple enough. In a blog post about the partner programme changes, global channel chief Rola Dagher revealed there would be “one incentive structure with regional rebates that are consistent across tracks. There will be one set of requirements that will now combine their revenue and training”.

She claimed the changes would “enable partners to focus on positioning the best solution for their customer, while earning consistent, lucrative incentives, regardless of route to market. This update unlocks massive opportunities for the future by delivering a single tier across our partners’ engagement with Dell Technologies”.




The programme would provide a “more streamlined experience” whether a partner was a solution provider, cloud service provider, OEM partner or a combination of those categories.

The attractions of earning consistent incentives regardless of route to market and solution are hard to argue against. The issue, I suppose, is whether particular routes to market and solutions prove more attractive to customers than those the vendors and partners might prefer. If you’re not rewarding partners for promoting the solutions that fit best with your current and future product and services portfolio, it could create a possible imbalance between where you want to go and where your customers want you to go.

Still, streamlining the partner programme does fit with the efforts of vendors like Dell to simplify the way in which technology is delivered to customers and consumed, most notably through as-a-service under the Apex brand. Cheryl Cook, SVP, global partner marketing, said Dell would work with partners to help transform companies and businesses to the new as-a-service reality. The adoption curve would depend on the size and sophistication of partners so she expected multiple consumption models to co-exist for some time.

Denise Millard, SVP, global alliances, reinforced the importance of as-a-service to the company, describing Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) as “incredibly important” for Dell and its partners. She revealed that profitability to Dell and its partners increased substantially whenever partners delivered DaaS because they were able to wrap services around it. DaaS was a “massive opportunity” and had been a huge growth driver over the past two years.

There’s a very strong – and simple – argument for partners to become more engaged with the as-a-service model. When it comes down to it, the most attractive characteristic of any change is how much it protects or improves the bottom line. If it does so while supposedly simplifying the delivery and consumption of technology and services for customers, that’s so much better.

The only slight cause for concern is if customers that are increasing profitability for Dell and its partners by opting for the simplicity of as-a-service feel “stupid” for doing so. Everyone is happy to keep it simple, but no one wants to be stupid.

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