Michael Dell was keen to emphasise in our meeting today just how far his company has come in the four years since it officially entered the channel.
Since the EMEA launch of PartnerDirect in early 2008, Dell has transformed itself from a channel pariah to a company for whom partnering is at the heart of its strategy.
Dell resellers we spoke to in preparation for the interview did voice some lingering concerns over pricing, logistics and competition with Dell's direct sales force - but such qualms are becoming fewer and further between.
Overall, most had mainly good things to say about the vendor which once regarded direct sales as a "religion".
And it was clear from what Dell said that the channel is no longer an afterthought for the $62bn-turnover vendor.
Although Dell was in the UK to schmooze corporate end users, the channel was as much a part of his agenda, with eight of Dell's top partners enjoying an audience with the Texan.
We put to him that some partners still harbour concerns that Dell's channel is not as slick as its direct sales force. He argued that the heavy lifting was done, emphasising how much just work Dell had put in to build up its partner resources over the last four years.
"We don't think about the channel as a second thought - it's integrated into everything we are doing," he said. "Every new offering and capability has partners in mind."
If Dell ploughs on with its strategy of buying channel-friendly enterprise storage, networking and software firms, it's clear the channel will only become more important to the firm.
As always, let us know your thoughts.
Catch the week-after-next's issue of CRN to read the interview in full.
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