As if flying into New York to spend a week with my Channelnomics.com colleagues was not reward enough, I was lucky enough to meet senior global channel execs from both Dell and HP in the Big Apple last week.
There has never been much love lost between the two firms, and that was before Dell decided to embrace the channel, so it is interesting to see the completely different paths both vendors are taking.
Thomas Jensen, vice president of worldwide channel sales at HP PPS, and Cheryl Cook, vice president global channels and alliances at Dell, were both kind enough to introduce us to one of their partners as well, allowing us to grill both them and their partner on strategy. Both vendors had a fascinating story to tell and actually wished each other luck.
I have followed their developments with interest over the last 15 years, but the two companies could not be coming at things from a more different angle, yet both are claiming the same thing.
HP is set to split in two by November, dividing the company into HP Inc (covering PCs and printers) and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, covering enterprise hardware and services.
Jensen explained to us at the time that the split will make things much easier for partners, as the two sides of the business will become more nimble and able to act a lot more quickly on pressing matters.
Partners will know exactly who they need to talk to, and the whole process of doing business with HP will become even simpler, he said.
However Dell is a different story. The vendor has been busy buying companies such as Quest, SonicWall, Compellent (to name but a few) to build out its overall offering, as well as its well-publicised battle to go private, and has now positioned itself as a complete ‘end-to-end’ solution provider.
This, explained Cook, means it is far easier for channel partners to do business with it because they can get everything they need from one place, without having to deal with more people/teams and add any layers of complexity into the mix for their customers.
In my humble opinion there are still some minor holes (eg networking, and this is based on a couple of things said to me by partners), but it is very clear what Dell is trying to do and why it is trying to do it.
The other point Cook made, and I guess it is a valid one, is that because Dell's channel model is relatively new compared to some, they don't have all the legacy stuff to worry about. Instead their strategy is relatively fresh, rather than dotted with changes and new strategy launches like most of the more established channel vendors.
Being totally neutral, I can see the benefits of both models, and in the real world, how many partners/end users get absolutely all their IT kit from the same vendor? Could this be the way things go in the future?
With both vendors claiming their model is the best and easiest way for their partners to do business, I genuinely do want to know from our readers – which way is best?
Can they both be right?
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