Dell Technologies’ limited world view

EMC World 2016
Joe Tucci with Michael Dell at EMC World 2016. (Image: EMC)



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4 May 2016 | 0

Can a vendor ever have enough partners? I ask the question because Michael Dell seemed to suggest it’s possible when he was speaking at the recent EMC World 2016. His comments followed the unveiling of Dell Technologies, the combined Dell and EMC company.

“Between Dell and EMC, it’s not as if we’re lacking in partners,” he said. “In some ways, we are looking to go deeper with our current pool of partners, rather than recruit new partners as such.”

Just for good measure, Dell added: “There’s not many partners we don’t have between us given the breadth of technologies we offer, and that’s an important point to put across to the market.”

Now, I get where he’s coming from, but it seems to me a mistake to deduce from his comments that Dell Technologies has enough partners. Experience shows that vendors can really only have two quantities when it comes to partner numbers: too many or too few. That’s why so much of their energy in terms of the channel is spent on recruiting new partners or axing old ones.

Think about it. You rarely read a headline where company X has revealed it “has enough partners”. Usually, company X is announcing plans to recruit some more or drop a few from the roster.

Even Dell doesn’t go so far as to say the company has ‘enough’ partners. The furthest he will go is to say that there aren’t many partners that Dell and EMC don’t have between them. But there are bound to be some. Similarly, it’s quite likely some Dell or EMC partners won’t really fit with the plans for Dell Technologies.

Yes, I know he says the plans are to go deeper with existing partners rather than recruit new ones, but that’s just common sense. Why go to all the effort of bringing new partners on board if you can get your existing resellers to do more business with you on a wider range of products and services?

But that still doesn’t mean the company won’t recruit new partners and lose some old ones along the way. A few existing resellers either won’t want to go deeper with Dell Technologies or won’t be able to. Somebody will have to take their place.

How much is enough? No one knows. The very few number of companies that don’t have any channel partners can never be sure they’ve got it right either. Even when you have none, you can never have enough channel partners.

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