The EMEA networking channel head at Dell, Mark Pearce, has his sights firmly on the top spot in the market and is breathing down the necks of biggest rivals HP and Cisco.
“We have seen striking success in the last 12 months in both the UK and Europe," said Pearce (pictured). " As a networking vendor Dell is still relatively unknown, but most people know Dell as a brand and we are making strides into the networking arena. If you look at the portfolio, Dell has a very strong portfolio. And in the last quarter in the UK, networking partner revenue has grown by 68 per cent.”
He said the vendor was pushing its 'Open Networking' mantra – which provides customers with the choice in terms of the tools they use to orchestrate and manage the networking products they buy from Dell.
“We are really grabbing analysts’ attention and Gartner has rated us as the most innovative networking company in the datacentre environment,” he said. “We are now the third largest networking vendor in the market and of course we are aiming for the top spot, but first we have to consolidate our position as number three and then get second place. We are having success against Cisco and HP in the last couple of months.”
He explained that at the moment, the networking division has achieved its goal of 50 per cent of business through its partners across the UK and Europe, as outlined earlier this year.
“In fact, in the UK, 53 per cent of our business is through channel partners. This year I want to get that figure to 60 per cent and above, and next year, 70-75 per cent. Ultimately I want a fully channel-led model,” he said. “One of the things I have heard about, but never actually seen in networking is the claim that Dell is competing with its channel. We are not.
“Unlike the competition which has thousands of partners competing with each other, we are a teenager compared to them and we can look at our rivals and learn a few lessons. We want a reasonable number of capable partners across Europe earning between $750,000 and $1m with us. Some are even set to hit $2m this year.”
And the vendor is offering attractive rebates to the right partners, he said. Earlier this year the vendor revealed it was slashing rebate thresholds for Premier and Preferred partners, meaning they had to do $20,000 (£13,300) of business a quarter, to qualify for up to 14 per cent rebates. Previously partners were required to generate $100,000 a quarter to qualify.
On top of that Pearce said Premier partners can make an extra two per cent MDF rebate.
“When you are not over distributed you can make reasonable money and we can offer fantastic rebates,” Pearce said.
The vendor is also increasing its ‘partner circle’ strategy where it invites partners in different countries to come together and hear about the latest developments, plus it is travelling round Europe holding one day workshops for partners to ensure they are kept up to date with the latest technological developments.
“The good thing about holding the workshops over a day is that there is no hidden costs – staff don’t have to stay in hotels, they are out the office for just one day and that is very much appreciated by partners as it doesn’t affect their business and take all their technical people out the game for a whole week,” he said.
Distribution was also playing a vital part in spreading Dell’s networking message, he explained. “In the UK we have Tech Data, Azlan, Ingram Micro, Hammer and Exertis and they are using their knowledge and capabilities to spread the Dell message. We need more partners both in the UK and Europe, and distribution is going to be very important for us going forward.”
But he stressed that Dell Networking is not trying to force partners to choose one way or another.
“We know partners invest lots of time and effort in their relationships. We can’t just demand they do one thing. We as a vendor have to show them the value and opportunity we can give them and it is certainly working. We are getting interest from large Cisco and HP partners. But we are not trying to take away their Cisco and HP revenues. We are trying to add to their business and become an alternative, with a level of differentiation.”
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