In the latest of our ‘Meet the Shortlisters’ series, Dell’s UK vice president and general manager of channel and distribution, Rob Tomlin (pictured), talks about the importance of supporting the channel through difficult times and the pride he feels in both Dell and its partners for continuing to deliver despite the many challenges thrown up by the pandemic
Give us a flavour of your channel strategy - how long have you worked with the channel, how is your programme structured, how many partners do you work with etc?
Dell Technologies has been working with channel partners in the UK for just over a decade. In that time, we have built out a full distribution and partner network. Our program has four tiers, starting at Authorised through to Titanium partner status.
Our goal is to be simple, predictable, profitable. Working daily to help our partners deliver fantastic results for our joint customers.
What is the biggest benefit you have seen from working with channel partners?
Dell Technologies creates fantastic products & our partners work with our sales teams to wrap the services and solutions around our products. Without our partners, we couldn't drive the pace of digital transformation we have seen over the last few years and especially in 2020.
How have you supported your partners during the pandemic? Has it made you change your strategy in any way? If so, how?
First and foremost - we listened to our partners. It has been the uncertainty around payment days and the ability to meet them that has been the most common concern for partners. In response, we announced our stimulus package, a one-time advance payment of marketing development funds to ease cash flow, extended our working capital solutions (WCS) and offered virtual training and exams, lowering the price of many, and offering the essential exams free of charge.
We have always had a focus on helping our customers, partners and communities. But these are exceptional times. It is how we behave during a crisis that defines us, and how the team has rallied around makes me incredibly proud to work at Dell Technologies.
What has been your company's biggest challenge in 2020, and how did you overcome it? What role did your teams play in that?
Our main priority has always been to ensure we keep people safe and well. Luckily we were able to move to a full working from home model and stand up our remote partner enablement in a matter of days. From a customer perspective, Dell's market leading supply chain, combined with the close co-operation of our partners and Dell teams has meant we were able to manage the increased demand of our customers.
What lessons have you learned from this year?
My most important lesson of 2020 has been that I can adapt the way I work. Instead of travelling week in week out, I can WFH in the day and have dinner with my wife and daughter at night. It's a blessing as well as a good lesson in being more flexible in our approach to working productively, and hope once things return to normal, I can keep that healthier work//life balance.
What has been the highlight of 2020 for your business?
I'm so proud that through it all we've continued to deliver for our customers and partners. Nowhere is that more apparent than in our ability to launch new technology - we had nine launches in nine weeks back in Q2 alone. That momentum creates new talking points and opportunities for our partners, as well as opportunities for our customers to accelerate their digital transformation.
What does it mean to you to be recognised for the shortlist/an award?
At Dell Technologies, we run the business every day with purpose, pride & passion. To be shortlisted for two awards this year is a testament to the hard work of all our team. The team also invest many hours compiling the entry and working with our partners to get all the supporting evidence. The nice thing about all of this is that it's an opportunity to reflect on all the great work we are doing while inspiring us to strive for our next set of goals!
How do you think the industry will change as a result of Covid-19 and how do you plan to thrive/grow?
The IT industry and the channel is the most adaptable and resilient market that you could wish to work in. Cloud is going to be huge in 2021, and we are in a great position to help partners and customers with their transformations, with our multi-cloud offerings, flexible payment solutions such as Dell Technologies on Demand and the launch of Project Apex in 2021, our IT-as-a-Service strategy, as launched at Dell Technologies World.