Despite years of channel bashing, UK resellers have embraced moves by Dell to launch an official channel strategy.
The vendor, which has for its 23 years prided itself on its direct-only strategy, announced last week to CRN’s sister title, CRN US, that it intends to ramp up channel sales. Michael Dell, chief executive of the vendor, admitted that sales through its solution provider channel had been growing fast, with annual sales of $4bn coming from its US VARs alone.
He also hinted at a possible partner programme.“We have not done as much in the channel as we probably should have – certainly not as much as we could have – so now we’re going after it,” he said.
In a statement to CRN, Dell’s UK business, said: “There are a substantial number of customers who choose not to buy directly from Dell. Dell does business today with some resellers where our business is complementary. In the future Dell will be less quiet about this because we are interested in growing it.”
UK resellers were positive about the move. Anthony Knee, owner of system builder Keen PCs, said: “Dell will have to give us some margin we can work with, but it certainly won’t eat us alive – it cannot afford to offer the add-on services – it needs the channel.
“I sit on the Professional Computing Association’s Reseller Committee and almost every time we meet the suggestion of Dell launching a partner programme has been a topic of discussion.”
VAR Ramsac has been selling Dell kit for several years. Managing director Robert May, told CRN: “Dell will have to change if it wants to attract more resellers. Hopefully there will be a company-wide education of the role that resellers play and then we won’t have over-zealous Dell sales people under-cutting us in tenders.”
However, rival vendors have warned VARs to be cautious.
Gary Fowle, marketing director at Fujitsu Siemens Computers, said: “It has been the worst kept secret in the channel – we’ve all known that Dell has sold to resellers. Any VAR would have to think carefully about a vendor whose model up until now has been to trash the value that the channel adds.” C
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