For resellers searching for clues about where the channel fits into the philosophy of the newly christened Dell Technologies, the omens seem encouraging.
The brand that will encompass Dell and EMC was introduced at EMC World this week, and will come into force once the duo's record-breaking $67bn merger completes later this year.
Given both firms' direct-sales heritage, resellers are right to approach the enlarged entity with a degree of caution. After all, Dell and EMC still draw 60 and 40 per cent of their respective revenues from their direct sales reps - a higher ratio than most of their rivals including HP, Lenovo and Cisco.
But the signals from EMC World suggest a combined Dell-EMC could lean more heavily on the channel than they did as separate firms.
One important clue lies in the original reason Dell and EMC decided to ditch direct sales in the first place.
Both vendors were once one-product firms, but the growing breadth of their respective portfolios meant their direct sales reps could no longer be experts in everything they sold, hence the need to turn to the channel. Extending that logic, the birth of Dell Technologies will mean more help is needed from reseller partners than ever before.
And Michael Dell's first move after announcing the EMC acquisition was to sell his services arm, Perot Systems - potentially an indication that Dell Technologies doesn't want to compete with the channel on services.
As we explore in next issue's Spotlight, plans are already afoot for bringing together Dell and EMC's channel programmes as the duo seek to reassure partners they will be front and centre of the new Dell Technologies.
In any case, both Dell and EMC have come along way since their direct-selling heydays, when Michael Dell actually wrote a book on the virtues of cutting out the channel and EMC's mantra was ‘a pitbull would let go before an EMC [direct] sales rep'.
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