Last year Dell’s global Channel business raked in $50 billion and it is been growing at a rate of 18% year on year. SME Channels sat down to discuss Dell’s market plans with leaders including Joyce Mullen, President, Global Channel, OEM & IoT, Dell Technologies, Tian Beng, Senior Vice President & General Manager- Channels, Asia Pacific Japan, Dell Technologies and Anil Sethi, Vice President & General Manager, India Channels, DellTechnologies.
India is not only one of the largest consumer markets on the earth but also one of the fastest growing markets for IT. There is growth everywhere. Starting from manufacturing to retail to telecom to government to services – everywhere there is a growth. It means opportunity for IT is great too. The good part of the market is that it is partner led. And it is from the beginning but now the challenge is that due to the growth in cloud and new age technologies including AI & ML, IOT, Blockchain, etc., the channel partners are finding it difficult to grow. Although they need to embrace these technologies but due to the bandwidth crunch and paucity of investment, they are not able to do so. Here is where they are seeking the support of their principals. On the other side, the vendors those who take care of these interests of the partners are most likely to be successful. And Dell Technologies is one such principal which is on the track to become the choice of the partners.
The company is not only listening to the partners but also investing in product innovation in order to make the products partner ready for today’s workloads.
Joyce Mullen, President, Global Channel, OEM & IoT, Dell Technologies, said,“For the last three years, we have spent over US$12.5 billion on our R&D. So, we are very continuing to innovate. And not only do we have a very robust R&D budget, we also have a DELL Technology Ventures team, which is keeping an eye on the market and understanding the technologies of today and tomorrow.”
“We just had a fantastic conversation about where the technology is going, how it will change over the next five years. And it’s exciting and at the same time a little scary and complicated. All it means is that there is tremendous opportunity for the partners. If you think about the kind of complexity of the servers, and how they are changed to support AI – for example, or the need to manage data in a very different way. The second thing that we have is a highly aggressive market strategy that we are going to continue to invest in. So, we have the world’s biggest direct sales force. And we have an incredible channel community. And lastly, we have a strategic initiative, which is helping our partners to transact and engage across the Dell Technology family of businesses,” she added.
VMWare is an awesome standalone company and Secure Works, is a solid security company. Pivotal is a leader in application and modernization whereas, Dell EMC is pretty good at hardware supply chain. The company is looking at the opportunities which are in the radar and figuring out how to make those things work better together. For Dell the silos are all strong. But if the matter is how the company can make those silos meld a little bit more so that it can leverage each other’s strength in a much more efficient way. And there is a lot of growth opportunity. Joyce maintained, “It’s a $3 trillion market and we are at $92 billion, so this has a lot of upside.”
“India has advantages in many ways. It’s probably the biggest Channel markets in the world and at the same time it is one of the fastest-growing markets.”
President Global Channel
OEM & IoT
Now, when cloud is moving up the installation chart and partners are being threatened with the impact, how does Dell Technologies handle the situation? Joyce confirms that Dell is seeing incredible growth in Cloud. The company also seeing equal growth in On-prem installations. She added, “We have been talking a lot about this in Dell Technologies World. We are talking about Multi Cloud and Hybrid Cloud environment. We think these are all going to stay. All these are different manifestations of Cloud – all different combinations of Clouds and we do think that there’s going to be some new types of Clouds – maybe storage only Clouds, where the compute is in public Clouds for burst capacity and some compute is on-prem and you just access this data centrally. So, I think what is interesting is it doesn’t matter now, because we heard IBM say it’s going to go multi cloud. We also heard AWS say it is a kind of multi cloud, Google is saying the same thing, and everybody is saying that. So, I think we are now converged on a point, of course I’m sure there is some variation in how much of each will enjoy but everybody is saying that the path forward is going to be a combination of these.”
Tian Beng, Senior Vice President & General Manager- Channels, Asia Pacific Japan, Dell Technologies, added, “I think in the past maybe people thought that it will be mutually exclusive, but we were one of the first in the industry to keep saying that it will not be mutually exclusive, it will be a Hybrid Cloud. And we have been advocating Hybrid now for quite a few years. And it is great to see now that it is happening in quite a big way. Hybrid Cloud would obviously continue to grow but you know the on-premise will grow rapidly.”
“In fact, one of the trends that we have been seeing is that a lot of our customers who previously moved to the Public Cloud are moving their workloads back to on-premise and there are too many reasons. One: the cost was very high of keeping it in the Public Cloud. And there are security concerns, which is a big thing now. Hence some workloads which tend to be the more predictable are being brought back to on-premise. And the workloads which can’t be predicted have advantages of keeping it in public clouds,” opines Tian.
“We were one of the firsts in the industry to keep saying that it will not be mutually exclusive, it will be a Hybrid Cloud. And we have been advocating Hybrid for quite a few years now.”
Senior Vice President & General Manager- Channels
Asia Pacific Japan
Dell Technologies from the beginning works on dual route to market model – direct and partner. It might be a concern for the partners. But Anil Sethi, Vice President & General Manager, India Channels, Dell Technologies, puts this matter to rest as well. He said, “It has always been very clear at Dell that both the businesses are equally important. We are very clear that we want both businesses to grow. We ensure that we have very well segmented accounts and RTMs are clearly defined.The storage accounts will always be the partners. We will never go direct in this segment. Partners continue to engage with us and in a profitable way and that’s why we see today we are ranked at the top. We are super clear in the way we deal with registration process.”
If Dell Technologies is doing all right, then what is the challenge for the company? Joyce explains, “The opportunity on a global level for us is to figure out how to optimize the mix instead of the silos of Dell Technologies solutions. I am not sure we will solve that in two months or four months but I think we will make a lot of progress and our partners will see that through this initiative which allows them to transact and engage across the Dell Technologies companies. Even in longer term I think it is really remerging technologies.”
Tian added, “Lot of our customers want to look across the whole Dell Technology family including Dell, VMware, Pivotal and how can we provide an easy way to really transact and take advantage of all these different solutions. Last year our global Channel business was US$ 50 billion and then growing at 18% year by year. Just imagine 50 billion growing at 18 is a huge number actually.”
“Shadow Channel definitely will come up and play a role especially in Digital markets, but is it going to be the mainstream business? The answer is no.”
Vice President & General Manager
India Channels, Dell Technologies
The other question is the market is going through a transformation process, and is Dell Technologies helping its partners to internally transform to address the changing market. Is Dell Technologies equipped with necessary training and certification to the partners to cope with the growth? Perhaps yes. Joyce says, “We have a fairly robust certification process where we are training on solution competencies and capabilities. Some of them are around the new and emerging technologies. We also train people on how to position our solutions and relevant pitches so that they can all talk about Dell Technologies advantage.”
There is huge growth in the Shadow Channel which has evolved for last 5-6 years and is challenging the traditional Channel on its growth. Anil explained: “Shadow Channel definitely would come up and play a role especially in Digital markets, but is it going to be the mainstream business? The answer is no. They are going to enter all the big projects but alongside the traditional IT partners. Yes, their growth in the next couple of years is going to be very important. But most of it is going to get fulfilled through the traditional partners because while they have the financial capability, they don’t have a delivery capability or execution capability. So, they would take up project management role and getting the pieces together.
For most of the IT principals, growth in India is not proportionate giving the potential. Most of the vendors are not able to solve the riddle of SME market. Here too, Dell Technologies is doing quite good. Anil maintained, “SME market is not an issue for us as that is one of the biggest focus areas. We call it geo-expansion phase and we have a much defined strategy. We have given the onus to the partners address and fulfil but we certainly are working with them.”
If there are Cloud requirements and if customers want to go, they will certainly go. Dell Technologies is never saying against it. But the company is of opinion that there is still large headroom for the traditional partners as traditional entrepreneurs would still prefer on premise. And partners need to leverage the combined portfolio of Dell Technologies.